Phyllis Thaxter


Actor
Phyllis Thaxter

About

Also Known As
Phyllis Schuyler Thaxter, Phyllis St Felix Thaxter
Birth Place
Portland, Maine, USA
Born
November 20, 1919
Died
August 14, 2012
Cause of Death
Alzheimer's Disease

Biography

Born the daughter of a Shakespearean actress and a Supreme Court justice for the state of Maine, Phyllis Thaxter had the love of performing arts and an impeccable sense of poise instilled in her at an early age. She followed in her mother's footsteps with her Broadway debut in Henry Aldrich's play "What a Life!" at 17. She made her film debut a few years later with a supporting role in t...

Photos & Videos

Family & Companions

James Aubrey
Husband
Executive. Married in 1944; divorced in 1962.

Biography

Born the daughter of a Shakespearean actress and a Supreme Court justice for the state of Maine, Phyllis Thaxter had the love of performing arts and an impeccable sense of poise instilled in her at an early age. She followed in her mother's footsteps with her Broadway debut in Henry Aldrich's play "What a Life!" at 17. She made her film debut a few years later with a supporting role in the Spencer Tracy World War II drama "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo." In 1947, she would costar with Tracy again, playing his and Katharine Hepburn's onscreen daughter in the melodrama "The Sea of Grass." It was around this time that Thaxter befriended film star Montgomery Clift. The two were inseparable, with rumors floating that they were sure to marry; they did not wed but maintained a friendship for years. Though the talented ingénue appeared in a number of films, often snagging roles as the even-tempered wife or girlfriend, Thaxter was deemed less glamorous than her peers and never reached star status. In the 1950s, a case of temporary paralysis ended her contract with Warner Brothers. While she recovered from this form of infantile paralysis, her film career did not. Thaxter tenaciously moved into television, where she appeared in nearly 50 different programs before she retired in the early 1990s.

Life Events

Photo Collections

Act of Violence - Portrait Publicity Stills
Here are a few close-up Publicity Stills from Act of Violence (1949), starring Robert Ryan, Janet Leigh, and Van Heflin. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Superman: The Movie - Program
Here is the official Movie Program from Warner Bros' Superman: The Movie (1978), starring Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Margot Kidder, and Gene Hackman.

Videos

Movie Clip

Blood On The Moon (1948) -- You're Working For Us Now? En route to deliver a note for a rancher, Garry (Robert Mitchum) meets his feisty daughter Amy (Barbara Bel Geddes), then her sister (Phyllis Thaxter) and brother (Tom Tully), in Robert Wise's range-war Western Blood On The Moon, 1948.
Women's Prison (1955) - She Is Not A Criminal Doc Crane and superintendent Van Zandt (famously turbulent married couple Howard Duff and Ida Lupino) tangle over a new inmate (Jan Sterling as Helene Jensen), who gets scolded by Saunders (Mae Clarke) and supported by Brenda (Jan Sterling), on her first night inside, in Women’s Prison, 1955.
Women's Prison (1955) - Open, You're More Than Welcome Terrific momentum, Lewis Seiler directs the quasi-documentary open, with a pointed grievance in the narration, from the original screenplay by Jack DeWitt and Crane Wilbur, as deputy Green (Lorna Thayer) delivers nervous Helene (Phyllis Thaxter) and brassy recidivist Brenda (Jan Sterling), Frank Sully the turnkey, Mae Clarke as matron Saunders, in Women’s Prison, 1955.
Women's Prison (1955) - I'm Here For A Post-Graduate Course Traumatized Helene (Phyllis Thaxter) finally joins the population after two initial weeks in quarantine, meeting friend Brenda (Jan Sterling), her pal Mae (Cleo Moore), Adelle August as Grace and Vivian Marshall as sparky Dottie, in Women’s Prison, 1955, starring Ida Lupino.
Breaking Point, The (1952) - You Know How It Is John Garfield narrating the opening to his second-to-last film, as "Harry Morgan," in the second and more faithful version of Hemingway's To Have And Have Not, Phyllis Thaxter his wife, in The Breaking Point, 1950.
Springfield Rifle (1952) - I'm Used To Being Obeyed Gary Cooper is Kearney, a former Union Major court-martialed for surrendering horses to Confederate-backed raiders, now in with that same crowd, Fess Parker as friendly Randolph, David Brian as the boss McCool, Jack Woody as cowhand Sims, in the war-espionage Western Springfield Rifle, 1952.
Jim Thorpe -- All-American - Quit Complaining Coach "Pop" Warner (Charles Bickford) continuing his narration, about the time his restless track star Burt Lancaster (title character) hustled his way into the football squad, charming Margaret (Phyllis Thaxter) supporting, in Jim Thorpe -- All-American, 1951.
Jim Thorpe -- All-American (1951) - Thorpe Of Carlisle Story leaps forward, as Burt Lancaster (title character) sweeps his first track meet, then meets Margaret (Phyllis Thaxter), confirming his status as a "Letterman," in Jim Thorpe -- All-American, 1951.
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944) - A Little Bit Of Ted Quick survey of affairs as Doolittle (Spencer Tracy) speaks to fight crews, Ted (Van Johnson) and other pilots confer, and wives (Phyllis Thaxter, Jacqueline White, Dorothy Morris) chat on the beach, in Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, 1944.
Sign Of The Ram, The (1948) - I Gave Them Life Phyllis Thaxter as the newly hired secretary "Sherida," meeting her new employer, Susan Peters as wheelchair-bound writer "Leah," her first scene in her first and only role following her disabling hunting accident, in John Sturges' The Sign Of The Ram, 1948.
Sign Of The Ram, The (1948) - I'd Never Butt In Husband Mallory (Alexander Knox) has just fled at signs of the arrival of neighborhood gossip Clara (Dame May Whitty), visiting her disabled writer friend Leah (Susan Peters), meeting her new secretary Sherica (Phyllis Thaxter), in the early John Sturges thriller The Sign Of The Ram, 1948.
Springfield Rifle (1952) - You've Given Enough Court-martialed Union major Kearney (Gary Cooper) getting snarky with ex-colleagues (Paul Kelly, Lon Chaney Jr., Philip Carey) at a horse sale, then surprised when wife Erin (Phyllis Thaxter) arrives with news of their son, in Springfield Rifle, 1952.

Family

Skye Aubrey
Daughter
Actor.

Companions

James Aubrey
Husband
Executive. Married in 1944; divorced in 1962.

Bibliography