Mary Wickes

Mary Wickes

  • Highest Rated: 100% The Trouble With Angels (1966)
  • Lowest Rated: 7% Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993)
  • Birthday: Jun 13, 1910
  • Birthplace: Not Available
  • "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.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

Movies

Rating

Title

Credit

Box
Office

Year

71% The Hunchback of Notre Dame Laverne 1996
92% Little Women Aunt March 1994
7% Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit Sister Mary Lazarus 1993
72% Sister Act Sister Mary Lazarus $139.7M 1992
No Score Yet The Canterville Ghost Actor 1991
84% Postcards from the Edge Grandma 1990
No Score Yet Almost Partners Aggie Greyson 1987
No Score Yet The Christmas Gift Henrietta Sawyer 1986
No Score Yet Touched by Love Margaret 1980
No Score Yet Willa Eunice 1979
No Score Yet Lucy Calls the President Actor 1977
No Score Yet Sigmund and the Sea Monsters Actor 1973
No Score Yet Napoleon and Samantha Clerk 1972
No Score Yet Snowball Express Miss Wigginton 1972
No Score Yet Where Angels Go---Trouble Follows! Sister Clarissa 1968
No Score Yet The Spirit Is Willing Gloria Tritt 1967
100% The Trouble With Angels Sister Clarissa 1966
64% How to Murder Your Wife Harold's Secretary 1965
No Score Yet Dear Heart Miss Fox 1964
No Score Yet Fate Is The Hunter Mrs. Llewelyn 1964
94% The Music Man Mrs. Squires 1962
No Score Yet The Sins Of Rachel Cade Marie Grieux 1961
98% 101 Dalmatians Voice 1961
No Score Yet Cimarron Mrs. Hefner 1960
No Score Yet It Happened to Jane Matilda Runyon 1959
No Score Yet Don't Go Near the Water Janie 1957
No Score Yet Dance With Me, Henry! Miss Mayberry 1956
No Score Yet Good Morning, Miss Dove Miss Ellwood 1955
No Score Yet Destry Bessie Mae Curtis 1954
No Score Yet Ma and Pa Kettle at Home Miss Wetter 1954
77% White Christmas Emma 1954
60% The Actress Emma Glavey 1953
No Score Yet By the Light of the Silvery Moon Stella 1953
No Score Yet Young Man with Ideas Mrs. Gilpin 1952
No Score Yet The Story of Will Rogers Mrs. Foster 1952
100% On Moonlight Bay Stella 1951
80% I'll See You In My Dreams Anna 1951
No Score Yet June Bride Rosemary McNally 1948
No Score Yet Higher and Higher Sandy 1943
No Score Yet Happy Land Emmy 1943
No Score Yet Who Done It? Juliet Collins 1942
91% Now, Voyager Dora Pickford 1942
No Score Yet The Mayor of 44th Street Mamie 1942
No Score Yet Private Buckaroo Bonnie-Belle Schlopkiss 1942
83% The Man Who Came to Dinner Miss Preen 1942
No Score Yet Blondie's Blessed Event Sarah Miller 1942

TV

Rating

Title

Credit

Year

No Score Yet Highway to Heaven
1984-1989
Minnie
  • 1988
  • 1985
No Score Yet Murder, She Wrote
1984-1996
Alva Crane
  • 1985
No Score Yet Trapper John, M.D.
1979-1986
Miranda Hazel
  • 1982
  • 1981
No Score Yet The Waltons
1972-1981
Octavia
  • 1981
No Score Yet M*A*S*H
1972-1983
Col. Reese
  • 1975
No Score Yet Sanford and Son
1972-1977
Mary
  • 1972
No Score Yet The Beverly Hillbillies
1962-1971
  • 1967
No Score Yet Bonanza
1959-1973
Martha Hattie
  • 1966
  • 1963
No Score Yet Alfred Hitchcock Presents
1955-1962
Sophie Mrs. Foster
  • 1956
No Score Yet I Love Lucy
1951-1957
Madame Lamond
  • 1952

QUOTES FROM Mary Wickes CHARACTERS

Laverne
[pigeons landing all over] Don't you ever migrate?! [shakes fists]
Esmeralda
Maybe Frollo's wrong about the both of us.
Hugo
[eavesdropping] What did she say?
Laverne
[eavesdropping] Frollo's nose is long and he wears a truss!
Laverne
Oh, Quasi...[pigeons land all over] Do you mind? [to birds] I would like to have a moment with the boy if it's alright with you! [bangs hand on table]
Laverne
Oh, Quasi... [pigeons land all over] Do you mind? [to birds] I would like to have a moment with the boy if it's alright with you! [bangs hand on table]
Victor
Perhaps he's sick.
Laverne
Impossible. If twenty years of listening to you two hasn't made him sick, nothing will!
Mary Lazarus
Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. Show me a man that a woman can trust. Now where did it say that on the eighth day He dusteth?