Herta Ware (June 9, 1917 â€" August 15, 2005) was an American actress and political activist.

Early life

Herta Ware

Ware was born Herta Schwartz in Wilmington, Delaware, the daughter of Helen Ware, a musician and violin teacher, and Lazlo Schwartz, an actor who was born in Budapest. Her mother's brother was activist Harold Ware and her maternal grandmother was labor organizer and socialist Ella Reeve Bloor. Her father was Jewish and her mother was from a Christian background.


Ware made her Broadway debut in "Let Freedom Ring", co-starring Will Geer, whom she married in 1934. The couple appeared together in other New York plays, including "Bury the Dead" (1936), "Prelude" (1936), "200 Were Chosen" (1936) and "Journeyman (1938).

She made her on-screen debut in 1978, when she appeared in the television film A Question of Guilt. Subsequently, Ware appeared in her first feature film 1980, The Black Marble. What followed was a number of films between 1980 and 2000. Her second feature film was the comedy-horror Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype, which featured English actor Oliver Reed. She starred in the sci-fi film 2010 in 1984 alongside Roy Scheider and Helen Mirren. She is perhaps most recognized for her performance in the classic film Ron Howard's Cocoon, and appeared in the sequel Cocoon: The Return. She may also be highly recognized for her role in the popular sequel Critters 2: The Main Course, as 'Nana', the grandmother of Scott Grimes' character Brad Brown. She received roles in several other well-known films such as, Species, Practical Magic, with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, and Cruel Intentions, with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Philippe. Her role in the 1992 television film Crazy in Love earned her a CableACE Award for Supporting Actress in a Movie or Miniseries.

Ware has made many guest appearances on classic television series including, Knots Landing, Highway to Heaven, Cagney & Lacey, The Golden Girls and ER, to name a few. She and her daughter, Ellen both made guest appearances on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Beauty and the Beast.

Personal life

Herta Ware

In 1934, Ware married actor Will Geer, with whom she had three children. She and Geer were politically-minded and relocated to Los Angeles in the early 1940s and settled in Santa Monica so that Geer could pursue his movie career. In 1951, the passionately left-wing Geer became blacklisted by Hollywood for taking the Fifth Amendment and refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. With Geer's film career destroyed, and falling into financial difficulties, the couple lost their Los Angeles home. Ware later married actor David Marshall, with whom she had one child, a daughter, actress Melora Marshall. They later divorced. Ware and Geer reunited in 1973 and subsequently co-founded the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, which was on five acres of land that Ware purchased in Topanga Canyon for $10,000. The burgeoning theater officially opened as a summer theater in 1973. The pair divorced in 1954 but remained close friends. She stayed by Geer's bedside as he passed away of a respiratory ailment in 1978. In 2000, Ware published her own memoir Fantastic Journey, My Life with Will Geer.


Herta Ware

Ware died in 2005, due to complications for parkinson's disease. She resided in Topanga, California at the time of her death.


Herta Ware



Television films

Other appearances

  • Medieval Theater: The Play of Abraham and Isaac ... Mary Pink, Mother (short documentary) (1974)
  • Woody Guthrie: Hard Travelin' (documentary) (1984)
  • When Jesus Was a Kid (video short) (1993)


Herta Ware

External links

Herta Ware
  • Herta Ware at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
  • Herta Ware at the Internet Movie Database
  • Herta Ware at the Internet Broadway Database

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