Phyllis Thaxter Cause of Death: How the Actress Passed Away at 92

Phyllis Thaxter was a popular American actress who starred in many movies and TV shows in the 1940s and 1950s. She is best known for playing Ellen Lawson in Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944) and Martha Kent in Superman (1978). She also appeared in Bewitched (1945), Blood on the Moon (1948), and The World of Henry Orient (1964). But how did she die and what was her cause of death? Here is what we know.

Early Life and Career

Phyllis Thaxter was born on November 20, 1919, in Portland, Maine. She was the daughter of Phyllis (née Schuyler) Thaxter, a former actress, and Sidney St. Felix Thaxter, who later served as a Justice of the Maine Supreme Court She had two siblings, Sidney and Hildegarde. Her grandfather was Major Sidney W. Thaxter, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the American Civil War

Phyllis Thaxter developed an interest in acting from her mother, who was a one-time Shakespearean actress. She joined the Montreal Repertory Theatre troupe as a teenager and made her Broadway debut at age 17 in What a Life! in 1939 She went on to play various roles on stage, including Claudia, which she replaced Dorothy McGuire in

She attracted the attention of Hollywood and signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in the early 1940s. Her film debut was opposite Van Johnson in the 1944 wartime film Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, based on the true story of the Doolittle Raid She received positive reviews for her performance as Johnson’s noble wife

She continued to star in various films for MGM, often portraying the ever-patient wife, girlfriend, or daughter of the leading men. She played a woman with a split personality in the psychological thriller Bewitched (1945), a teary-eyed bride-to-be in Week-End at the Waldorf (1945), a daughter who reunites Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn in The Sea of Grass (1947), and a cattle owner’s daughter in Blood on the Moon (1948)

She also appeared in the film noir classic Act of Violence (1948), as the faithful girlfriend of Robert Ryan, an embittered POW out for revenge against his former war buddy Van Heflin

Move to Warner Bros. and Illness

Phyllis Thaxter moved to Warner Bros. in the 1950s, but usually played the same type of roles as she did at MGM. She was the ever-patient wife to John Garfield in The Breaking Point (1950), Gig Young in Come Fill the Cup (1951), Gary Cooper in Springfield Rifle (1952), and Ronald Reagan in She’s Working Her Way Through College (1952)

However, her career stalled after she contracted a form of infantile paralysis while visiting her family in Portland, Maine, in 1952 She recovered quickly, but the ailment triggered the termination of her contract with Warner Bros

Comeback in Television and Superman

Phyllis Thaxter made a comeback in television, appearing in guest-starring roles in various series, such as Lux Video Theatre, Climax!, Wagon Train, Rawhide, The Twilight Zone, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents She also returned to Broadway, appearing in Take Her, She’s Mine at the Biltmore in 1961

In 1978, she was cast with Glenn Ford as Jonathan and Martha Kent, the adoptive parents of Clark Kent, in the blockbuster film Superman, starring Christopher Reeve as the titular superhero The film was produced by her daughter Skye Aubrey’s husband, Ilya Salkind, and Ilya’s father, Alexander Salkind She reprised her role in a brief cameo in Superman II (1980)

Personal Life and Death

Phyllis Thaxter had a close relationship with actor Montgomery Clift in the early 1940s, and some people assumed they would eventually marry However, she married James T. Aubrey Jr., who later became president of CBS-TV and MGM, in 1944. They divorced in 1962. They had two children, Skye Aubrey, an actress, and James Watson Aubrey

In 1962, she married Gilbert Lea, a businessman and philanthropist. They were married for 46 years until his death on May 4, 2008 She was a Republican and supported the campaign of Dwight Eisenhower in the 1952 presidential election

Phyllis Thaxter died on August 14, 2012, at her home in Orlando, Florida, at the age of 92. The cause of death was complications related to Alzheimer’s disease, which she had been suffering from for nine years She was survived by her two children, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren

Legacy and Tribute

Phyllis Thaxter was a warm and winning actress who brought grace and dignity to her roles. She was praised for her natural and non-glamorous style, which made her relatable and believable. She was one of the most beautiful and patrician icons of the golden age of movies, TV, and theater, according to movie critic Rex Reed

She was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1501 Vine Street She was also inducted into the Maine Film Hall of Fame in 2009 She was remembered by her fans and colleagues as a talented and lovely person, who left a lasting impression on the screen and stage.

Doms Desk

Leave a Comment