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Mary Wickes

Mary Wickes

"I'm not a comic," insisted Mary Wickes. "I'm an actress who plays comedy." True enough; still Wickes was often heaps funnier than the so-called comics she supported. The daughter of a well-to-do St. Louis banker, Wickes was an excellent student, completing a political science degree at the University of Washington at the age of 18. She intended to become a lawyer, but she was deflected into theatre. During her stock company apprenticeship, Wickes befriended Broadway star Ina Claire, who wrote the young actress a letter of introduction to powerful New York producer Sam Harris. She made her Broadway debut in 1934, spending the next five seasons in a variety of characterizations (never the ingenue). In 1939, she found time to make her film bow in the Red Skelton 2-reeler Seein' Red. After a string of Broadway flops, Wickes scored a hit as long-suffering Nurse Preen (aka "Nurse Bedpan") in the Kaufman-Hart comedy classic The Man Who Came to Dinner. She was brought to Hollywood to repeat her role in the 1941 film version of Dinner. After a brief flurry of movie activity, Wickes went back to the stage, returning to Hollywood in 1948 in a role specifically written for her in The Decision of Christopher Blake. Thereafter, she remained in great demand in films, playing an exhausting variety of nosy neighbors, acerbic housekeepers and imperious maiden aunts. Though her characters were often snide and sarcastic, Wickes was careful to inject what she called "heart" into her portrayals; indeed, it is very hard to find an out-and-out villainess in her manifest. Even when she served as the model for Cruella DeVil in the 1961 animated feature 101 Dalmations, Cruella's voice was dubbed by the far more malevolent-sounding Betty Lou Gerson. Far busier on TV than in films, Wickes was a regular on ten weekly series between 1953 and 1985, earning an Emmy nomination for her work on 1961's The Gertrude Berg Show. She also has the distinction of being the first actress to essay the role of Mary Poppins in a 1949 Studio One presentation. Throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Wickes did a great deal of guest-artist work in colleges and universities; during this period she herself went back to school, earning a master's degree from UCLA. Maintaining her professional pace into the 1990s, Wickes scored a hit with modern moviegoers as Sister Mary Lazarus in the two Sister Act comedies. Mary Wickes' final performance was a voiceover stint as one of the gargoyles in Disney's animated Hunchback of Notre Dame; she died a few days before finishing this assignment, whereupon Jane Withers dubbed in the leftover dialogue. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide


Filmography of Mary Wickes:

Mary Wickes Trivia

When was Mary Wickes born?
Mary Wickes was born on June 13, 1910

Who did Mary Wickes play in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit?
Mary Wickes was Mary Lazarus in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit

Who did Mary Wickes play in Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows?
Mary Wickes was Sister Clarissa in Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows

What role did Mary Wickes play in Sister Act?
Mary Wickes played Mary Lazarus in Sister Act

Who did Mary Wickes portray in Dance with Me, Henry?
Mary Wickes was Miss Mayberly in Dance with Me, Henry

Who did Mary Wickes portray in White Christmas?
Mary Wickes was Emma in White Christmas

Who did Mary Wickes play in On Moonlight Bay?
Mary Wickes was Stella in On Moonlight Bay

Who did Mary Wickes play in I'll See You in My Dreams?
Mary Wickes was Anna in I'll See You in My Dreams

Who did Mary Wickes portray in By the Light of the Silvery Moon?
Mary Wickes was Stella in By the Light of the Silvery Moon

Who did Mary Wickes play in The Trouble With Angels?
Mary Wickes was Sister Clarissa in The Trouble With Angels

Who did Mary Wickes portray in Private Buckaroo?
Mary Wickes was Bonnie-Belle Schlopkiss in Private Buckaroo

Who did Mary Wickes portray in Postcards from the Edge?
Mary Wickes was Grandma in Postcards from the Edge

Who did Mary Wickes portray in It Happened to Jane?
Mary Wickes was Matilda Runyon in It Happened to Jane

Who did Mary Wickes portray in Little Women?
Mary Wickes was Aunt March in Little Women

Who did Mary Wickes portray in How to Murder Your Wife?
Mary Wickes was Harold's Secretary in How to Murder Your Wife

Who did Mary Wickes play in Now, Voyager?
Mary Wickes was Dora Pickford in Now, Voyager

Who did Mary Wickes portray in The Music Man?
Mary Wickes was Mrs. Squires in The Music Man

Who did Mary Wickes portray in The Man Who Came to Dinner?
Mary Wickes was Nurse Preen in The Man Who Came to Dinner

Who did Mary Wickes play in Cimarron?
Mary Wickes was Mrs. Hefner in Cimarron

Who did Mary Wickes play in The Hunchback of Notre Dame?
Mary Wickes was Laverne in The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Who did Mary Wickes portray in Snowball Express?
Mary Wickes was Miss Wigginton in Snowball Express

What role did Mary Wickes play in Napoleon and Samantha?
Mary Wickes played Clerk in Napoleon and Samantha

Who did Mary Wickes portray in Higher and Higher?
Mary Wickes was Sandy in Higher and Higher



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