Mary Wickes - Rotten Tomatoes

Mary Wickes

Highest Rated:   100% On Moonlight Bay (1951)
Birthday:  
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 YEAR
73% The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • Laverne
1996
90% Little Women
  • Aunt March
1994
7% Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit
  • Sister Mary Lazarus
1993
71% Sister Act
  • Sister Mary Lazarus
1992
No Score Yet The Canterville Ghost
  • Actor
1991
90% 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
No Score Yet The Trouble With Angels
  • Sister Clarissa
1966
67% How to Murder Your Wife
  • Harold's Secretary
1965
No Score Yet Dear Heart
  • Miss Fox
1964
40% Who's Minding the Store?
  • Actor
1963
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 Ma and Pa Kettle at Home
  • Miss Wetter
1954
77% White Christmas
  • Emma
1954
No Score Yet 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
80% The Man Who Came to Dinner
  • Miss Preen
1942
No Score Yet Blondie's Blessed Event
  • Sarah Miller
1942

Quotes from Mary Wickes' Characters