Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Phyllis Thaxter, Ma Kent from "Superman, The Movie", dies at age 90

The actress who for an entire generation embodied Ma Kent in "Superman, The Movie" has passed.

Phyllis Thaxter died at the age of 90 today after a long bout with Alzheimer's. She had a long and amazing film and television career, beginning with "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" in 1944 and starred alongside some of Hollywood's greatest like Van Johnson, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Mitchum and Burt Lancaster.

Of course our trip to the Kent Farm has even more meaning for me now. Although it was a little under 35 years ago that she, Glenn Ford and Jeff East stood on that ground, their spirit remains. I very specifically thought of Phyllis as Ma Kent sitting on the porch as we gazed up towards the house....just like this photo.

"Superman, The Movie" would be her last big screen role...and to have finished a film career as the iconic adoptive mother of a very special orphaned child she and her husband would name Clark, Thaxter secured her immortality across multiple generations.

Incidentally, Glenn Ford passed away six years ago this month on August 30, 2006. It'll be strange to watch that movie again and realize that he, Christopher Reeve and now Phyllis Thaxter are gone. But the onscreen memories they left us are truly beyond priceless.


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