skip navigation
Mary Wickes

Mary Wickes

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (1)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Sister Act DVD Relive all the fun, laughter, and irresistible music of SISTER ACT -- the... more info $6.25was $6.25 Buy Now

The Story Of Will Rogers... Comedy great Bob Hope narrates the movie biography of another great American... more info $19.98was $19.98 Buy Now

The Canterville Ghost DVD Richard Kiley, Shelly Fabares and Mary Wickes star, in this Wonderworks series... more info $6.95was $6.95 Buy Now

Lucy Calls The President... One of the screen's greatest comediennes, Lucille Ball ended the successful... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Where Angels Go...Trouble Follows... California or Bust: The Angels Ride Again!Rosalind Russell, Stella Stevens and... more info $14.99was $14.99 Buy Now

It Happened To Jane DVD The Romantic Comedy Classic That Goes Straight To The Heart!In this classic... more info $14.99was $14.99 Buy Now



Also Known As: Mary Isabelle Wickenhauser Died: October 22, 1995
Born: June 13, 1910 Cause of Death: complications following surgery
Birth Place: St Louis, Missouri, USA Profession: actor, acting teacher

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A tall, lanky character actress, Wickes was a durable and invaluable comedy player of innumerable housekeepers, nurses and nuns. With her gawky frame, deliciously angular features and famous recessed chin, she wisecracked, busybodied and nosed her way through almost 20 Broadway plays, hundreds of stock productions, ten TV series, countless small-screen guest spots and nearly 50 feature films. Wickes began on stage in the early 1930s and acted in five plays either written or directed by George S. Kaufman. Her breakthrough came when she hilariously played Miss Preen, the endlessly harassed nurse to the vituperative Sheridan Whiteside (Monty Woolley) in Kaufman and Hart's "The Man Who Came to Dinner" (1939-40). Wickes later recreated her most famous role as her film debut in 1941, in a radio production starring Fred Allen and in a 1972 TV version with Orson Welles.Once Hollywood had hold of Wickes, she proved she could dish up the guff as well as take it in "Now Voyager" (1942), "Happy Land" (1943), "June Bride" (1948), "On Moonlight Bay" (1951) and "It Happened to Jane" (1959). Wickes returned occasionally to Broadway in plays from "Hollywood Pinafore" (1945) to a revival of "Oklahoma!" (1979-80, as...

A tall, lanky character actress, Wickes was a durable and invaluable comedy player of innumerable housekeepers, nurses and nuns. With her gawky frame, deliciously angular features and famous recessed chin, she wisecracked, busybodied and nosed her way through almost 20 Broadway plays, hundreds of stock productions, ten TV series, countless small-screen guest spots and nearly 50 feature films. Wickes began on stage in the early 1930s and acted in five plays either written or directed by George S. Kaufman. Her breakthrough came when she hilariously played Miss Preen, the endlessly harassed nurse to the vituperative Sheridan Whiteside (Monty Woolley) in Kaufman and Hart's "The Man Who Came to Dinner" (1939-40). Wickes later recreated her most famous role as her film debut in 1941, in a radio production starring Fred Allen and in a 1972 TV version with Orson Welles.

Once Hollywood had hold of Wickes, she proved she could dish up the guff as well as take it in "Now Voyager" (1942), "Happy Land" (1943), "June Bride" (1948), "On Moonlight Bay" (1951) and "It Happened to Jane" (1959). Wickes returned occasionally to Broadway in plays from "Hollywood Pinafore" (1945) to a revival of "Oklahoma!" (1979-80, as the warm and earthy Aunt Eller), but once TV caught on in the early 50s, Wickes found another ideal home in the sitcom. She could practically have declared her occupation as "housekeeper" on her income tax for the next few decades, for she played sharp-tongued but efficient and loyal factotums on "The Peter and Mary Show" (1950), "Bonino" (1953), "The Halls of Ivy" (1954), "Annette" (1958), "Sigmund & the Sea Monsters" (1973-75) and "The Father Dowling Mysteries" (1989-91). Wickes was also the first to play governess extraordinaire Mary Poppins on a "Studio One" production in the 50s. Her Emmy-nominated turn as the landlady on "Mrs. G. Goes to College" (1961-62), her doctor's wife on "Julia" (1968-71) and her crusty nurse on "Doc" (1975-76) were just so many welcome variations on a much-loved persona.

Feature work for Wickes continued with colorful roles in "The Music Man" (1962) and "Snowball Express" (1972). In "The Trouble with Angels" (1966) she played the bus-driving Sister Clarissa, a role she reprised for the lesser sequel, "Where Angels Go . . . Trouble Follows" (1968). Over the years, the tireless Wickes also began to teach seminars on acting in comedy at her alma mater, Washington University (which later awarded her an honorary doctorate), the College of William and Mary and the American Conservatory Theater. She did extensive volunteer nursing work and served as a board member of several prestigious medical institutions. (An episode of TV's "M*A*S*H", with Wickes as the most decorated nurse of the Korean War, was especially written for her.) In the 90s, Wickes returned to college to earn a Master's Degree at UCLA. She received her widest feature exposure in years as the hilarious Sister Mary Lazarus in "Sister Act" (1992) and its sequel, "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit" (1993), and as Aunt March in "Little Women" (1994). Her final film credit was providing the voice of the gargoyle Laverne in Disney's animated "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1996).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Hunchback of Notre Dame, The (1996) Voice Of Laverne
2.
 Little Women (1994) Aunt March
3.
 Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993) Sister Mary Lazarus
4.
 Sister Act (1992) Mary Lazarus
5.
 Postcards From The Edge (1990) Grandma
7.
 Christmas Gift, The (1986) Henrietta Sawyer
8.
 Touched By Love (1980) Margaret
9.
 Willa (1979) Eunice
10.
 Snowball Express (1972) Miss Wigginton
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Made stage debut at the Berkshire Playhouse in Stockbridge, MA
1935:
Appeared on Broadway in supporting role in the George S. Kaufman-Edna Ferber comedy-drama, "Stage Door" (date approximate)
:
Breakthrough role: played Miss Preen, the harassed nurse, in the popular stage comedy, "The Man Who Came to Dinner", by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart
1941:
Made feature film debut recreating her acclaimed stage role as Nurse Preen in the comedy, "The Man Who Came to Dinner"
:
After acting in five films in 1943, concentrated primarily on stage work until 1948
1945:
Acted on Broadway in the play, "Hollywood Pinafore"
1950:
Played Miss Wickes, the housekeeper, on about half of the run of the NBC sitcom, "The Peter and Mary Show" (renamed "The Peter Lind Hayes Show" midway through its one-season run)
1953:
Played Martha the housekeeper on the short-lived NBC sitcom, "Bonino"
:
Played recurring role of Elizabeth O'Neal, the protagonist's press agent, on the long-running ABC and later CBS sitcom, "Make Room for Daddy/The Danny Thomas Show"
:
Played Alice the housekeeper on the CBS comedy series, "The Halls of Ivy", starring Ronald Colman and Benita Hume
1958:
Played Katie the housekeeper on the short-lived ABC comedy series, "Annette", starring Annette Funicello
:
Played Maxfield, the landlady, on the CBS comedy series, "Mrs. G. Goes to College" (a.k.a. "The Gertrude Berg Show"); received an Emmy nomination as Outstanding Supporting Actress on a Comedy Series
:
Played recurring role of Melba Chegley on the NBC sitcom, "Julia", starring Diahann Carroll in the title role
1969:
First TV-movie, "The Monk"
1972:
Last feature film for seven years, "Snowball Express"
1972:
Recreated her Broadway and Hollywood feature role as the nurse in an NBC TV-movie adaptation of the stage comedy, "The Man Who Came to Dinner"
:
Played Zelda Marshall, the housekeeper for the Stuart family, on the NBC Saturday morning children's show, "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters"
:
Played Nurse Beatrice Tully on the CBS sitcom, "Doc", starring Barnard Hughes in the title role
1979:
Returned to films to play a role in the feature, "Touched By Love"
:
Played one of the leading roles, Aunt Eller, in the Broadway revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, "Oklahoma!"
:
Hiatus from acting
:
Played housekeeper Marie Gillespie on the NBC and later ABC mystery series, "The Father Dowling Mysteries"
1990:
Returned to films regularly with her role in the comedy-drama, "Postcards from the Edge"
1992:
Played one of her most popular roles in features, Sister Mary Lazarus, in "Sister Act"; reprised the role for the 1993 sequel
1996:
Final film credit, voiced Laverne, a gargoyle in Disney's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Washington University: St Louis , Missouri -
University of California at Los Angeles: Los Angeles , California -

Notes

According to CINEFANTASTIQUE (in the course of its extensive coverage of the Disney animated remake of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" in the June 1996 issue), Wickes was reportedly the live-action model for the villainess Cruella De Vil in the Disney animated classic "101 Dalmations" (1961).

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute