Although Phyllis Thaxter, who has died aged 92, had a successful career in films throughout the 1940s and 50s, many will remember her for her last movie role, in Superman (1978). It was the small but key part of Ma Kent, the childless farmer's wife who adopts a foundling baby and names him Clark. Together with her husband (Glenn Ford) – both made intentionally to resemble the couple in Grant Wood's American Gothic painting – they bring up the abnormally physically gifted boy until he's ready to fly off "to fight for truth, justice and the American way".
At one stage, she tells him: "We Kents don't like show-offs, ain't that so? A body's got to be humble even if he knows that he's better'n his neighbours." A fragile beauty, Thaxter was never a show-off, but made an impact in a gentle way,