Phyllis Thaxter

20 Nov 1919
14 Aug 2012
Film Industry
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Phyllis St. Felix Thaxter (November 20, 1919 – August 14, 2012) was an American actress.

Phyllis St. Felix Thaxter was born in Portland, Maine, USA, to Sidney St. Felix Thaxter, who would later become a Justice of the Maine Supreme Court, and his wife, Phyllis Schuyler, a former actress and member of the Dutch American Schuyler family.

Prior to appearing in movies, Thaxter was on the stage. When Dorothy McGuire went to Hollywood, Thaxter replaced her in the Broadway play Claudia.

In 1944, she signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Her movie debut was opposite Van Johnson in the 1944 wartime film Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.

In the 1945 film-noir Bewitched, Thaxter played Joan Alris Ellis, a woman suffering from split personality.

In 1948, she played a cattle owner’s daughter alongside Barbara Bel Geddes in Blood on the Moon.

At MGM, she routinely portrayed the ever-patient wife to a number of leading men.

She moved to Warner Brothers in the 1950s, but usually played the same type of roles.

Thaxter’s career stalled after an attack of polio in 1952.

She made a comeback in such television series as Rawhide, portraying Pauline Cushman in the episode “The Blue Spy” (1961), Wagon Train (“The Christine Elliott Story”), The Twilight Zone (“Young Man’s Fancy”), and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

She also returned to Broadway, appearing in Take Her, She’s Mine at the Biltmore in 1961.

In 1978, Thaxter was cast, along with Glenn Ford, as Jonathan and Martha Kent in the blockbuster film Superman.

Patricia Bosworth, in her biography of Montgomery Clift, tells of Thaxter’s close relationship with Clift in the early 1940s, writing that they “seemed so close that a great many people assumed they would eventually marry”.
While at MGM, Thaxter married James T. Aubrey, Jr., who later became president of CBS-TV and MGM. They divorced in 1962. They had two children: Skye Aubrey, an actress; and James Aubrey.

In 1962, Thaxter married Gilbert Lea. They were married for 46 years until his death on May 4, 2008.

Thaxter died on August 14, 2012, in Longwood, Florida, after an eight- or nine-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was 92 years old. In keeping with her wishes, she was cremated and her ashes were scattered into the Atlantic Ocean.

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