Marta Kristen (Actress) - Lost in Space
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Updated: 11/29/13

Name: Marta Kristen

Birth Name: Birgit Annalisa Rusanen

Born: February 26, 1945, Oslo, Norway

Claim To Fame: She is best-known for her role as Judy Robinson in the television series Lost in Space (1965-1968).

Family Life: She has been married to attorney Kevin Kane since 1974.

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Info: Birgit Annalisa Rusanen was left in an orphanage when she was just two weeks old, and lived there until she was adopted in 1948 by Professor and Mrs. Harold Soderquist. They named her Marta after the Oslo social worker who helped them get past the red tape involved with an international adoption.

A talented singer and dancer, Marta was accepted to the famous Will-O-Way Theatre in Birmingham, Michigan at the age of fourteen, and was cast in Taming of the Shrew and Little Women.

She was noticed by director James B. Harris while she was eating lunch at a drive-in restaurant in Santa Monica. He asked if she would like to try out for Lolita. Although she did not end up taking the role, Harris still set her up with an agent, who got her a feature role in The Loretta Young Show.

She was soon making appearances on popular television sitcoms such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, My Three Sons, Leave it to Beaver, and the Shirley Temple show.

She was then asked to meet with producer Irwin Allen, who was casting for his new series, Space Family Robinson. After meeting Marta, Allen wanted her for the role of Judy Robinson, and pitched several script ideas for the character until she agreed to take on the role. The series, which was renamed Lost in Space, was a huge hit, and made Marta a star.

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Trivia: Loves to travel, especially in the Far East to trek in the Himalayas.

Was born out of wedlock in Norway to a Finnish mother and a German soldier.

Auditioned for the role of Liesl Von Trapp in The Sound of Music.

On a trip to Finland in 1969, she located her birth mother, Helmi Rusanen, and an older sister whom she had never met; and in 1997 she discovered a brother residing in Australia.

Was named Marta after the Oslo social worker who helped her adoptive parents get past the red tape involved with an international adoption.

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Where Are They Now: After Lost in Space ended, Marta went on to make a bunch of TV commercials and guest appearances on shows including Mannix, Remington Steele and Trapper John. She also provided voice work for the 2009 animated theatrical short The Bolt Who Screwed Christmas.

Currently, Marta's most important role is that of grandmother. She has been helping to raise her granddaughter Lena, and spend as much time with family as possible.

However, she is occasionally spotted at conventions, and makes small film appearances. She lives with her husband in California with a pair of rescue dogs.

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