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Wife, Mother, Murderer (1991)

PG-13 | | Drama | TV Movie 10 November 1991
The life of Audrey Marie Hilley, who, in order to start a new life, took drastic action.


Mel Damski


David Eyre Jr.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Judith Light ... Marie Hilley / Robbi / Teri
David Ogden Stiers ... John Homan
Kellie Overbey ... Carol Hilley
David Dukes ... Joe Hubbard
Whip Hubley ... Lieutenant Gary Carroll
Jessie Jones Jessie Jones ... Maggie
Mary Nell Santacroce Mary Nell Santacroce ... Grandma
Joe Inscoe Joe Inscoe ... Frank Hilley
Robin Florence Robin Florence ... Belinda
Lane Bradbury Lane Bradbury ... Aunt Frieda
Maury Covington ... Bellamy
Dan Biggers Dan Biggers ... Corrigan
Terrence Gibney Terrence Gibney ... Walt
Brett Rice ... Fowler (as James Brett Rice)
Libby Whittemore ... Rhonda


Marie Hilley started out as the perfect wife and mother. Then two decades into her marriage, her husband Frank, is taken severely ill and dies soon after. Within months of his death, their daughter Carol is admitted to hospital with similar symptoms and intensive testings later reveal arsenic poisoning. In the meantime, Marie is arrested for passing bad checks and when Frank's exhumed remains reveal massive amounts of arsenic, she is promptly charged with his murder but manages to escape and remain on the run for three years. She is convicted of Frank's murder in absentia and even remarries but when she tries to fake her own death with her new identity, things quickly fall apart for her and she is arrested again. She escapes again but this time, her luck runs out and she is captured within a week and eventually dies in prison. Written by mahajanssen

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for theme of homicidal child abuse. | See all certifications »






Release Date:

10 November 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Wife, Mother, Murderer See more »

Filming Locations:

Atlanta, Georgia, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The scene in which the character played by Judith Light is apprehended for her crimes took place in a small shopping plaza near Vinings, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Real-life policemen were stationed at all of the entrances and exits of the shopping plaza to control traffic in accordance with the requirements of the filming. The actual apprehension scene included three movie police cars racing in and screeching to a halt with their occupants, jumping out and running to assist in the arrest. During the first take of that scene, the real policemen, off-camera, laughed with great abandon, which provoked an assistant director to approach them and make inquiry. The real officers pointed out that one of the movie cops, the one played by John Archer Lundgren, had hair too long for precinct regulations. Forthwith, the director halted the filming, called for a make-up person to come on scene with scissors and chair. For the next fifteen minutes, the offending actor was given, on the spot in the middle of the parking lot, a very nice regulation haircut, while approximately fifty cast, crew and on-lookers stood around watching. See more »


When Marie's car is burned the daughter is still in high school. This means that it is before 1978, when she graduated. The new car is a Chrysler LeBaron convertible, but they weren't sold until 1981 and the first year they were all brown. See more »


Dr. Matt Jones: [sees lead inserted into Carol's fingers] Wait. I've read about this.
Joe Hubbard: What is it?
Dr. Matt Jones: [to a drowsy Carol] Honey? Honey, can you hear me?
[Carol nods slowly]
Dr. Matt Jones: Honey, you did this to yourself?
[she shakes her head]
Dr. Matt Jones: Somebody's trying to kill you.
See more »

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User Reviews

True tale of a rural U.S. 20th-century Lucretia Borgia. Kudos for actress Judith Light in the the lead role!
18 March 1999 | by dvoxSee all my reviews

Surpassing all of the celluloid screen gems based on Stephen King's on-going premise that most of the horror in the world takes place in Maine ("as Maine goes so goes the nation...") is the fact that many non-fictionally based movies dealing with the sinister, seamy, and downright bizarre, are set in Maine's straight-laced neighboring state of New Hampshire. Add the 1991 made-for-tv film "Wife, Mother, Murderer" to the growing list of "farcical film noir" granite state fare. Twentieth-century Lucretia Borgia-esque family poisoner Audrey Hilley flees the clutches of Alabamian justice and seeks refuge in New Hampshire's hallowed hills (not to be confused with real-life characters Barney and Betty Hill, the subjects of an earlier made-for-tv movie, "The Ufo Incident" (1975),based on the first "documented" alien-abduction account involving a Portsmouth, New Hampshire couple "saucer-napped" during a vaction in New Hampshire's White Mountains in 1961).

Current info-merical actress Judith Light's stellar, soap opera-tinged performance relegates this flick to #1 amongst "Naughty New England Melodramas"! Thrill to the scenic beauty of charming Cheshire County (even though this was filmed in North Carolina where they have a more active film commission)! Such sumptuous cinema begs viewers to check out other New Hampshire-based nuggets, such as 1995's "To Die For", in which Nicole Kidman plays egotistical sociopath Suzanne Stone (based on New Hampshire's real-life Pamela Smart), in a sordid tale of a seductive tv weather commentator/high school instructor who orchestrates the murder-for-hire killing of her husband by her teenage, student lover; watch for a cameo role by author-turned-actress Joyce Maynard as Suzanne's lawyer. Maynard wrote the original novel from which the film was adapted and is the purported former lover of "Catcher In The Rye" author J.D. Salinger). Who could forget the 1962 Stanley Kubrick film "Lolita", in which middle-aged mentsch Humbert Humbert pursues the affections of a 14-year-old nymphet (played perfectly and purringly by Sue Lyon) amidst an array of oddball, small-town New Hampshire bizarros? Other neurotic New Hampshire-based nefariousness includes the films: "Murder In New Hampshire: The Pamela Wojas Smart Story" (1991), a quick, slick, made-for-tv instant recount (starring oscar-winner Helen Hunt) of the actual real-life inspiration of "To Die For"), "In The Mouth Of Madness" (John Carpenter's 1995 horror-ode to what happens to over-the-edge writers who seek solace in the granite state), "Peyton Place" (1957), the grandparent of all "sleazy soaps" (and yes, also set in New Hampshire), "The World According To Garp" (1982), and "The Hotel New Hampshire" (1984), screen adaptations of New Hampshire-born writer John Irving's homage to peaceful, wholesome New Hampshire piety and pragmatism. Even 1995's "Jumanji", a bland, spfx-befuddled Robin Williams flick concerning a young boy who acquires a mysterious board game and is trapped in an alternate dimension (a thinly-veiled, not-terribly-engaging horror story passing itself off as a big-budget Hollywood children's movie) is New Hampshire (and Cheshire County) based! All-in-all, "Wife, Mother, Murderer" is notable (aside from the competent job done by Judith Light) more for its addition to and epitomization of "New Hampshire Folklore Film Fodder", than for its recounting of a latter-day Lucretia! And yes, this reviewer is a native of and lives in Cheshire County, New Hampshire!

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