An attractive, accomplished actress, Martha Scott began her professional career appearing in Shakespearean productions at the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair. After further honing her craft in stock and on radio, she made her mark as Emily in the 1938 original Broadway production of Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer-winning "Our Town". Scott earned a 1940 Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her film debut recreating the stage role. For much of her early feature career, the Missouri native generally playing characters much older than herself like the titular elderly woman reflecting on her life in Tay Garnett's "Cheers for Miss Bishop" or her loyal parson's wife in "One Foot in Heaven" (both 1941). Scott delivered a strong portrait of a greedy harridan married to a selfless newspaper editor (John Mills) in "So Well Remembered" (1947). In "The Desperate Hours" (1955), she was stalwart as the wife and mother of the family held hostage by Humphrey Bogart. The actress played the mother of Charlton Heston (nine years her junior) in two 50s Biblical epics, Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments" (1955) and William Wyler's Oscar-winner "Ben-Hur" (1959). After an absence of a decade and a half, Scott returned to acting as a nun on board a distressed plane in the schlocky sequel "Airport 1975" (1975) and offered an astringent turn as a ballet company manager in Herbert Ross' "The Turning Point" (1977).