LOS ANGELES (AP) — Herta Ware, who appeared in plays, films and TV shows and helped found the popular outdoor Southern California theater Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, has died at 88. She died Monday of natural causes at her home in Topanga Canyon, according to her daughter, Melora Marshall. The actress played Capt. Jean Luc Picard’s mother in an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and appeared in such films as “Cocoon,” “Practical Magic” and “Soapdish.” She also appeared on television in episodes of “ER,” “The Golden Girls,” “Cagney & Lacey,” “Knots Landing” and other shows and, until recent years, was often in plays at the Will Geer theater. The theater is named for her late ex-husband. She had begun acting in plays in New York City in the 1930s, appearing on Broadway in “Let Freedom Ring” in 1935. She divorced Geer in the 1950s but remained close to him until his death in 1978. She titled her 2000 memoir, “Fantastic Journey, My Life With Will Geer.” Ware moved with her family to then-rural Topanga Canyon in the early 1950s after Geer was blacklisted from films and television for refusing to testify before Congress’ House UnAmerican Activities Committee. Unable to support his family, he had lost his home in Santa Monica. The couple soon founded the Theatricum Botanicum to pursue Geer’s interests of live theater and botany. They survived financially by putting on plays and concerts featuring blacklisted actors and friends like folk singers Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.
Source: Associated Press Archive – Saturday, August 20, 2005