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.