Martha Scott



Born: September 22, 1912
Gee\'s Creek, Missouri, USA

Died: May 28, 2003
Los Angeles, California, USA

Martha Scott, the sweet and wholesome actress who played Emily Webb in the Broadway premiere of Thornton Wilder's classic Our Town, died May 28, 2003, in Los Angeles, the New York Times reported. She was 88. Ms. Scott was the second actress to be cast as Emily, who is, in many ways, the central character in Wilder's drama. The first actress was fired by producer-director Jed Harris for not fully capturing the character's shift in the last act, when Emily dies and takes her place among the other deceased, yet conscious former citizens of the mythical Grover's Corners.

Obituary: Harris auditioned her just before the New Haven opening of the show, on the recommendation of several friends. He looked at her face briefly and told Ms. Scott she had the part. She was 23 at the time. The then-daring play, which depicts all of life though the microcosm of a stage-managed small New Hampshire town, opened on Broadway in February 1938 to admiring reviews.

Ms. Scott played Emily in the 1940 film version as well, winning an Oscar nomination.

Prior to her splash in Our Town, the Jamesport, Missouri, native studied acting at the University of Michigan and acted in Shakespeare at the Chicago World's Fair.

She got another chance to act in Wilder in a short-lived 1975 Broadway staging of The Skin of Our Teeth, in which she played Mrs. Antrobus opposite Alfred Drake and Elizabeth Ashley under Jose Quintero's direction.

Her Broadway appearances were frequent, though not many of the plays lasted more than a few weeks. Among her credits were Foreigners (1939), The Willow and I (1942), with a young Gregory Peck, Soldier's Wife (1944), It Takes Two (1947), directed by George Abbott, The Number (1951), also staged by Abbott, The Male Animal (1952), The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker (1953), opposite Burgess Meredith, Cloud 7 (1958), A Distant Bell (1960), The Tumbler (1960), a flop with Rosemary Harris, Charlton Heston and Donald Moffat, directed by Laurence Olivier, and The 49th Cousin (1960).

She also replaced Irene Dailey as the emotionally distant wife in the long-running The Subject Was Roses. Her last Broadway appearance was in the 1999 National Actors Theatre revival of The Crucible, where she appeared with her old Subject Was Roses co-star, Martin Sheen.

Her films include "The Ten Commandments" and "Ben-Hur."

She is survived by a son and two daughters.



Playbill Cover - The Crucible The Crucible
Dec. 10, 1991 - Jan. 5, 1992
Rebecca Nurse Performer
Playbill Cover - The Skin of Our Teeth The Skin of Our Teeth
Sep. 9, 1975 - Sep. 13, 1975
Mrs. Antrobus Performer
Playbill Cover - The Subject Was Roses The Subject Was Roses
May 25, 1964 - May 21, 1966
Nettie Cleary
Jul. 5, 1965
Playbill Cover - The 49th Cousin The 49th Cousin
Oct. 27, 1960 - Jan. 21, 1961
Fanny Lowe Performer
Playbill Cover - The Tumbler The Tumbler
Feb. 24, 1960 - Feb. 27, 1960
Nina Performer
A Distant Bell
Jan. 13, 1960 - Jan. 16, 1960
Lucy Greer Performer
Cloud 7
Feb. 14, 1958 - Feb. 22, 1958
Mary Reece Performer
Playbill Cover - The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker
Dec. 30, 1953 - Jul. 10, 1954
Ma Pennypacker Performer
Playbill Cover - The Male Animal The Male Animal
Apr. 30, 1952 - Jan. 31, 1953
Ellen Turner Performer
Playbill Cover - The Number The Number
Oct. 30, 1951 - Jan. 12, 1952
Sylvia Performer
Design for a Stained Glass Window
Jan. 23, 1950 - Jan. 28, 1950
Margaret Clitherow Performer
It Takes Two
Feb. 3, 1947 - Feb. 8, 1947
Connie Frazier Performer
Playbill Cover - Soldier's Wife Soldier's Wife
Oct. 4, 1944 - May 12, 1945
Katherine Rogers Performer
Our Town
Jan. 10, 1944 - Jan. 29, 1944
Emily Webb Performer
Playbill Cover - The Willow and I The Willow and I
Dec. 10, 1942 - Jan. 2, 1943
Mara Sutro Performer
Dec. 5, 1939 - Dec. 9, 1939
The Girl Performer
Playbill Cover - Our Town Our Town
Feb. 4, 1938 - Nov. 19, 1938
Emily Webb Performer
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