Edith Atwater
Edith Atwater1961.JPG
Atwater in 1961
Born(1911-04-22)April 22, 1911
DiedMarch 14, 1986(1986-03-14) (aged 74)
Years active1936–1985
(m. 1941; div. 1946)

Joseph Allen
(m. 1951; div. 1953)

(m. 1962; died 1985)
From TV's Love on a Rooftop: Back row, L-R: Pete Duel, Judy Carne Front: Edith Atwater, Herbert Voland (1966)
From TV's Love on a Rooftop: Back row, L-R: Pete Duel, Judy Carne Front: Edith Atwater, Herbert Voland (1966)

Edith Atwater (April 22, 1911 – March 14, 1986) was an American stage, film, and television actress.


Born in Chicago, Atwater made her Broadway debut in 1933. In 1939, she starred in The Man Who Came to Dinner. Her film career included roles in The Body Snatcher (1945), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), It Happened at the World's Fair (1963), Strait-Jacket (1964), Strange Bedfellows (1965), True Grit (1969), The Love Machine (1971), Die Sister, Die! (1972), Mackintosh and T.J. (1975), and Family Plot (1976).

From 1964 to 1965, Atwater appeared in several episodes of the television series Peyton Place in the role of Grace Morton, wife of Dr. Robert Morton, who was played by her real-life husband Kent Smith. During the 1966–1967 television season, she appeared in the series Love on a Rooftop. She was also a regular on the television series Kaz during the 1978–1979 season. Her other television work included appearances on The Rockford Files, Hazel, Knots Landing, and numerous other series.

Atwater's work on Broadway included performances in Flahooley (1951), King Lear (1950), Metropole (1949), The Gentleman From Athens (1947), Parlor Story (1947), State of the Union (1945), R.U.R. (1942), Broken Journey (1942), Johnny on a Spot (1942), Retreat to Pleasure (1940), The Man Who Came to Dinner (1939), Susan and God (1937), The Masque of Kings (1937), The Country Wife (1936), This Our House (1935), Brittle Heaven (1934), Are You Decent (1934), and Springtime for Henry (1931).[1]

Atwater was a member of the governing board of Actors' Equity Association.[2]

Personal life and death

In November 1941, Atwater married actor Hugh Marlowe;[3] they divorced in 1946. She was married to actor Kent Smith from 1962 until his death in 1985. She died of cancer in 1986 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center[4] at age 74.[5] She had no children.


Atwater's likeness was drawn in caricature by Alex Gard for Sardi's, the theatre-district restaurant in New York City. The picture is now part of the collection of the New York Public Library.[6]


Year Title Role Notes
1936 We Went to College Nina Alternate title: The Old School Tie
1936 The Gorgeous Hussy Lady Vaughn Uncredited
1945 The Body Snatcher Meg Cameron
1949 C-Man Lydia Brundage
1951 Teresa Mrs. Lawrence Uncredited
1957 Sweet Smell of Success Mary
1961 Mr. Sardonicus Nurse Uncredited
1962 Sweet Bird of Youth Minor Role Uncredited
1963 It Happened at the World's Fair Miss Steuben
1964 Strait-Jacket Mrs. Alison Fields
1965 Strange Bedfellows Mrs. Stevens
1969 Daddy's Gone A-Hunting Hospital Desk Nurse Uncredited
1969 True Grit Mrs. Floyd
1970 Pieces of Dreams Mrs. Lind (Gregory's Mother)
1970 Norwood Angry Bus Passenger
1971 The Love Machine Mary
1972 Call Me by My Rightful Name Mrs. Watkins
1972 Stand Up and Be Counted Sophie
1974 Our Time Mrs. Margaret Pendleton
1975 Mackintosh and T.J. Mrs. Webster
1976 Family Plot Mrs. Clay
1978 Mean Dog Blues Linda's Mother
1978 Die Sister, Die! Amanda Price
Year Title Role Notes
1948 The Philco Television Playhouse Marian Burnett Episode: "Parlor Story"
1949 NBC Presents Episode: "Concerning a Lady's Honor"
1950 Suspense Louise Lord Episode: "The Man Who Talked in His Sleep"
1951 Somerset Maugham TV Theatre Episode: "The Outstation"
1955 Armstrong Circle Theatre Episode: "The Honorable Mrs. Jones"
1958 Decoy Lily Conway Flagler Episode: "High Swing"
1960 The Witness Episode: "Police Lt. Charles Becker"
1961 Festival Mrs. Moreen Episode: "The Pupil"
1962 Stoney Burke Ruth Coles Episode: "A Matter of Pride"
1962 The Eleventh Hour Ann Tabor 2 episodes
1964 Dr. Kildare Miss Thorton Episode: "A Day to Remember"
1964–65 Peyton Place Grace Morton 11 episodes
1965 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Mrs. Brenner Episode: "Thou Still Unravished Bride"
1965 Profiles in Courage Mrs. Andrews Episode: "Judge Benjamin Barr Lindsey"
1965 Hazel Edith Stoneham Episode: "Do Not Disturb Occupants"
1965 The Legend of Jesse James Sarah Todd Episode: "One Too Many Mornings"
1966–67 Love on a Rooftop Phyllis Hammond 15 episodes
1967 Judd, for the Defense Mrs. Buckley Episode: "To Love and Stand Mute"
1969 Ironside Miss Bryan Episode: "Up, Down and Even"
1969 Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color Mrs. Addy Mason Episodes: "Ride a Northbound Horse" (Parts 1 & 2)
1969 The Flying Nun Mother General Episode: "The New Habit"
1970 Nanny and the Professor Miss Dunbar Episode: "Nanny Will Do"
1970 Bonanza Roberta Episodes: "The Night Virginia City Died", "The Weary Willies"
1973 Room 222 Mrs. Travis Episode: "Can Nun Be One Too Many?"
1974 Doc Elliot Emma Johnson Episode: "The Gold Mine"
1975 The Rockford Files Kate Banning Episode: "The Four Pound Brick"
1975 Insight Alice Jeffries Episode: "The Pendulum"
1976 Switch Mrs. Wood Episode: "Round Up the Usual Suspects"
1976 Family Judge Harmon Episode: "Coming Apart"
1976 Baretta Mrs. Youngstein Episode: "Dear Tony"
1977 The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Aunt Gertrude Hardy 7 episodes
1978–79 Kaz Illsa Fogel 22 episodes
1981 CBS Afternoon Playhouse Mrs. Rutherford Episode: "The Great Gilly Hopkins"
1982 Knots Landing Dr. Lillian McCary Episode: "The Best Kept Secret"
1983 Hart to Hart Dr. Jane Barrett Episodes: "Pounding Harts", "Harts on the Scent"
1985 Family Ties Gertrude "Aunt Trudy" Harris Episode: "Auntie Up"

See also


  1. ^ "Edith Atwater". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on November 3, 2020. Retrieved November 3, 2020.
  2. ^ "To report on theatre". The New York Times. March 18, 1948. p. 36. ProQuest 108277401. Retrieved November 3, 2020 – via ProQuest.
  3. ^ "Edith Atwater, Actress, Wed". The New York Times. November 21, 1941. p. 23. ProQuest 105667642. Retrieved November 3, 2020 – via ProQuest.
  4. ^ "Edith Atwater Is Dead at 74; Actress in Theater and Film". The New York Times. March 17, 1986. p. B 10. ProQuest 111044239. Retrieved November 3, 2020 – via ProQuest.
  5. ^ Hischak, Thomas S. (2003). Enter the Players: New York Stage Actors in the Twentieth Century. Lanham, Maryland, and Oxford: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. p. 15. ISBN 9780810847613.
  6. ^ The New York Public Library Inventory of Sardi's Caricatures