Martha Scott (September 22, 1912 - May 28, 2003) was an American actress.
Born in Jamesport, Missouri, she became interested in acting in high school, but failed to earn a degree from the University of Michigan before pursuing her acting dream. She got her start acting in shortened Shakespeare productions at the Century of Progress world's fair in Chicago, Illinois in 1933 - 1934.
Scott eventually went to New York City, where she was cast as the original Emily in the Broadway production of Our Town .
Her film debut in Our Town in 1940 saw her receiving an Academy Award nomination Best Actress for her luminous and critically acclaimed performance as Emily Webb. Scott's co-star was William Holden in the role of George Gibbs. Unfortunately the censors sanitized the film's last scene after Emily has died (set in a cemetery after Emily's death during childbirth in the stage production), and allowed her to live to make for a happy ending.
She never again achieved such acclaim, although she appeared in such films as The Howards of Virginia , Cheers for Miss Bishop , The Desperate Hours , The Ten Commandments , Ben-Hur , Airport 1975 and The Turning Point . In both The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur , she played Charlton Heston's mother. She married radio producer and announcer Carlton Alsop in 1940, and jazz pianist and composer Mel Powell in 1946.
In 1968 she joined Henry Fonda and Robert Ryan in forming a theatrical production company called "The Plumstead Playhouse". It later became the Plumstead Theatre Company and moved to Los Angeles, California. The company produced such fare as First Monday in October , both on stage and on film (Walter Matthau and Jill Clayburgh appeared in the film). Scott co-produced both versions.
Her last production was 12 Angry Men , which was performed at the Henry Fonda Theatre in Hollywood, California.
In the 1970s, she played Bob Newhart's mother on his eponymous CBS TV show. She also played Linda Gray's mother on the TV series Dallas and Lee Majors' mother on "The Six Million Dollar Man." She was also a surrogate mother of sorts to Lindsay Wagner on "The Bionic Woman."
Martha Scott has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, next to the Fonda Theatre.