Sometimes, you just want to write about someone familiar. Someone who, when you see them, makes you think they’re talented and good to see, but who you don’t really think about very often. I’m going to level with you all—this article is not going to be up to my usual standards, because I woke up this morning to the news that my beloved cat, whom I’d had to rehome because he wouldn’t adjust to dealing with small children, died at about three in the morning. And when I was thinking about someone who’d be nice to write about, I though about the woman who I first think of when I think of supportive Martha Kent.
She’s done movies, even some that I’ve seen. She was in The Onion Field, Frankie and Johnny, even American Gigolo. But it’s TV that his been her true home. She did one episode of Route 66 in 1962, because they were filming at her native Dallas, Texas. A move to Los Angeles clearly happened at some point, and in the ’70s, she started being a regular face on television. She did all the usual stuff—she has the sort of career where you’re genuinely surprised she never did Love Boat or Murder, She Wrote. She did do St. Elsewhere and Quincy, M. E., though.
I don’t know why she was cast as Martha Kent. By that point, she’d been doing TV for a while, and she’d done some drama beyond soap operas. She has a sterling performance as a racist mother in the Quantum Leap episode “The Americanization of Machiko,” for example. Not that Martha was really a dramatic role. In Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, she plays Martha as a sort of folksy industrial artist feminist who makes Clark’s costume. Delivering the line, “Nobody’s going to be looking at your face.” Which shocks Clark, but she’s not wrong!
Part of why I’m writing about her is that I’m just pleased to discover she’s still alive. She’s older than my mom, who turns seventy-five this week. Right now, I need a little life in my life. That’s frankly as much as I’m going to have today.
It won’t fix things, but maybe support my Patreon?