Martha Ellen Scott was an American actress best known for her roles as mother of the lead character in numerous films and television shows.
Scott was born in Jamesport, Missouri, the daughter of Letha and Walter Scott, an engineer and garage owner; her mother was a second-cousin of U.S. President William McKinley. Scott became interested in acting in high school. She got her start acting in shortened Shakespeare productions at the Century of Progress world’s fair in Chicago. 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, and allowed her to live to make for a happy ending.
She appeared in films such as The Howards of Virginia, Cheers for Miss Bishop, One Foot in Heaven, The Desperate Hours, The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, Airport 1975 and The Turning Point.