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Born as Judith Ives in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Lowry labored in occasional bit parts in film and television from the 1940s until she began to get more substantial roles in her eighties. Lowry had an uncredited role in Valley of the Dolls as Aunt Amy. She had character parts in such films as The Anderson Tapes opposite Sean Connery, and Cold Turkey alongside Dick Van Dyke.
Her best-remembered role is that of the acid-tongued, no nonsense "Mother Dexter" on the 1970s sitcom Phyllis, which starred Cloris Leachman. This was Lowry's last major acting role because she died of a heart attack during the series' final season. One of the last episodes she filmed before her death, "Mother Dexter's Wedding", marked the final appearance of veteran actor Burt Mustin, who played her equally superannuated bridegroom, Arthur Lanson. By the time the episode aired in December 1976, Lowry had died at age 86, and the 92-year-old Mustin, who died in January 1977, was too ill to see it. After the airing of "Mother Dexter's Wedding", five more episodes of Phyllis followed in which Lowry appeared.
She also appeared on stage, most notably off Broadway in The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, and on Broadway in a small role in Archibald MacLeish's drama J.B.
She was married to actor Rudd Lowry and had six sons and three daughters.
|The Trouble with Angels||1966||Sister Prudence|
|Valley of the Dolls||1967||Aunt Amy||Uncredited|
|The Night They Raided Minsky's||1968||Mother Annie|
|Sweet Charity||1969||Old Lady on Park Bench||Uncredited|
|Cold Turkey||1971||Odie Turman|
|The Anderson Tapes||1971||Mrs. Hathaway|
|The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds||1972||Nanny|
|1. Studio One||1954||1 Episode|
|2. The Phil Silvers Show||1956||Josie||1 Episode|
|3. The Patty Duke Show||1965||Miss Tansy||1 Episode|
|4. The Jackie Gleason Show||1966||Old Lady||1 Episode|
|5. Dark Shadows||1968||Hands of Cassandra||1 Episode|
|6. Maude||1974–1975||Aunt Polly||2 Episodes|
|7. Kojak||1975||Lily Weed||1 Episode|
|8. Phyllis||1975–1977||Sally "Mother" Dexter||23 Episodes|