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Martine Bartlett

Personal information
Birth dateApril 24, 1925
Place of birthSt. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Date of deathApril 5, 2006(age 80)
Death placeTempe, Arizona, U.S.
OccupationFilm, stage, television actress

     Home | American actors | Martine Bartlett

Martine Bartlett (April 24, 1925 April 5, 2006) was an American actress. She is best-remembered, albeit not by name, for her chilling performance as Hattie Dorsett, the seriously mentally disturbed mother of Sally Field's title character in Sybil.

She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of George Daniel Bartlett (1894 1971) and Martine Fons (1895 1983). Her siblings were Mary Jane Bartlett (born 1923) and George Daniel Bartlett, Jr. (born 1928). Her father was an attorney.

She graduated from John Burroughs School and Washington University. She was also involved on the stage with the former St. Louis Community Playhouse, Rooftop Players and the old Empress Theater. She received her master's degree at the Graduate Drama School at Yale. Her debut on Broadway was as a townsperson in The Devil's Disciple (1950). She was part of the ensemble cast in Saint Joan (1951) starring Uta Hagen.

Bartlett's first appearance on TV was in a 1956 episode of Robert Montgomery Presents titled The Man Who Vanished. Her other appearances include episodes on The Twilight Zone, The Fugitive, Dr. Kildare, The Virginian, Kojak, Cannon, Mission: Impossible, and Quincy, M.E. In 1964, she was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role by an Actress for her performance as Miranda in an episode of the ABC series Arrest and Trial (1963) titled Journey Into Darkness.

She returned to Broadway in 1957 and played the role as Loreena Lovejoy in Carson McCullers' The Square Root of Wonderful starring Anne Baxter. Bartlett also appeared as the kindly "Aunt Nonnie" in the original Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), which was directed by Elia Kazan and starred Geraldine Page and Paul Newman. The role in the movie, however, went to the much older, veteran actress Mildred Dunnock.

Bartlett's motion picture debut was as the English teacher Miss Metcalf in Splendor in the Grass (1961), starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty. Other roles were Saralee Garrett in The Prize (1963), starring Paul Newman and Elke Sommer, and Roddy McDowall's exasperated therapist in Lord Love a Duck (1966), which also starred Tuesday Weld. Bartlett also played Alma Mulloy, the first victim of Rod Steiger's serial killer in No Way to Treat a Lady (1968).

She played the delusional prostitute Sadie in Fuzz (1972) starring Burt Reynolds; Raquel Welch's mother (and Jodie Foster's grandmother) in Kansas City Bomber (1972); and as Dianne Hull's mother in Aloha, Bobby and Rose (1975). In a rather bizarre but fascinating screen role, Bartlett portrayed the "Secret Wife", a self-abusing mental patient, in I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977).

The 1976 NBC made-for-TV movie Sybil was well received and won an Emmy for Field in the title role. Bartlett played Hattie Dorsett, Sybil's psychotic mother who, in flashbacks, is shown abusing and tormenting Sybil, and garnered acclaim for her uncompromisingly brilliant performance. A respected stage actress, Bartlett never surpassed the notoriety of her role as Hattie. Little seen in movies, her name did not become a household word. She made her last known show business appearance on a 1983 episode of the television series Remington Steele.

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