Mary Wickes

Actor, Acting teacher
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 ... Read more »
Born: 06/13/1910 in St Louis, Missouri, USA


Actor (62)

Life With Louie 1995 - 1998 (TV Show)


The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1996 (Movie)

of Laverne (Voice)

Little Women 1994 (Movie)

Aunt March (Actor)

Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit 1993 (Movie)

Sister Mary Lazarus (Actor)

Sister Act 1992 (Movie)

Mary Lazarus (Actor)

Father Dowling Mysteries 1988 - 1991 (TV Show)


Postcards From the Edge 1990 (Movie)

Grandma (Actor)

ALF Loves a Mystery 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)


Murder, She Wrote 1975 - 1976, 1985 - 1986 (Tv Show)


The Canterville Ghost 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)


M*A*S*H 1972 - 1983 (TV Show)


Touched By Love 1980 (Movie)

Margaret (Actor)

The Lucille Ball Special 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)


Doc 1975 - 1976 (Tv Show)


Sigmund and the Sea Monsters 1973 - 1976 (TV Show)


Ma and Pa 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)


The Man Who Came to Dinner 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)


Napoleon and Samantha 1972 (Movie)

Clerk (Actor)

Snowball Express 1972 (Movie)

Miss Wigginton (Actor)

Julia 1968 - 1971 (TV Show)


The Monk 1969 - 1970 (TV Show)


Where Angels Go... Trouble Follows 1968 (Movie)

Sister Clarissa (Actor)

The Spirit Is Willing 1966 (Movie)

Gloria Tritt (Actor)

The Trouble With Angels 1965 (Movie)

Sister Clarissa (Actor)

Dear Heart 1964 (Movie)

Miss Fox (Actor)

Fate Is the Hunter 1964 (Movie)

Mrs Llewelyn (Actor)

Make Room For Daddy 1953 - 1964 (TV Show)


Dennis the Menace 1959 - 1963 (TV Show)


Mrs. G. Goes To College 1961 - 1962 (TV Show)


The Music Man 1961 (Movie)

Mrs Squires (Actor)

The Sins of Rachel Cade 1961 (Movie)

Marie Grieux (Actor)

101 Dalmatians 1960 (Movie)

Cruella De Vil (Voice)

Cimarron 1960 (Movie)

Mrs Johnson (Actor)

It Happened to Jane 1959 (Movie)

Matilda Runyon (Actor)

Don't Go Near the Water 1957 (Movie)

Janie (Actor)

Dance With Me Henry 1956 (Movie)

Miss Mayberry (Actor)

Good Morning, Miss Dove 1955 (Movie)

Miss Ellwood (Actor)

Destry 1954 (Movie)

Bessie Mae Curtis (Actor)

Ma and Pa Kettle at Home 1954 (Movie)

Miss Wetter (Actor)

White Christmas 1954 (Movie)

Emma Allen (Actor)

By the Light of the Silvery Moon 1953 (Movie)

Stella (Actor)

The Actress 1953 (Movie)

Emma Glavey (Actor)

My Kingdom For a Cook 1942 (Movie)


Now, Voyager 1941 (Movie)

Dora Pickford (Actor)

The Man Who Came to Dinner 1941 (Movie)

Nurse Preen (Actor)

The Mayor of 44th Street 1941 (Movie)

Mamie (Actor)

Almost Partners (TV Show)


Anna Lucasta (Movie)

Stella (Actor)

Blondie's Blessed Event (Movie)

Sarah Miller (Actor)

First the Egg (TV Show)


Half a Hero (Movie)

Mrs. Watts (Actor)

Higher and Higher (Movie)

Sandy (Actor)

June Bride (Movie)

Rosemary McNally (Actor)

On Moonlight Bay (Movie)

Stella (Actor)

The Canterville Ghost (Movie)


The Christmas Gift (TV Show)


The Petty Girl (Movie)

Prof. Whitman (Actor)

The Story of Will Rogers (Movie)

Mrs. Foster (Actor)

Who Done It? (Movie)

Juliet Collins (Actor)

Willa (TV Show)



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.


Washington University

St Louis, Missouri
awarded an honorary PhD from her alma mater

University of California at Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California



Final film credit, voiced Laverne, a gargoyle in Disney's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"


Played one of her most popular roles in features, Sister Mary Lazarus, in "Sister Act"; reprised the role for the 1993 sequel


Returned to films regularly with her role in the comedy-drama, "Postcards from the Edge"


Returned to films to play a role in the feature, "Touched By Love"


Last feature film for seven years, "Snowball Express"


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"


First TV-movie, "The Monk"


Played Katie the housekeeper on the short-lived ABC comedy series, "Annette", starring Annette Funicello


Played Martha the housekeeper on the short-lived NBC sitcom, "Bonino"


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)


Acted on Broadway in the play, "Hollywood Pinafore"


Made feature film debut recreating her acclaimed stage role as Nurse Preen in the comedy, "The Man Who Came to Dinner"


Appeared on Broadway in supporting role in the George S. Kaufman-Edna Ferber comedy-drama, "Stage Door" (date approximate)

Played Nurse Beatrice Tully on the CBS sitcom, "Doc", starring Barnard Hughes in the title role

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"

Hiatus from acting

Made stage debut at the Berkshire Playhouse in Stockbridge, MA

Played Alice the housekeeper on the CBS comedy series, "The Halls of Ivy", starring Ronald Colman and Benita Hume

After acting in five films in 1943, concentrated primarily on stage work until 1948

Played Zelda Marshall, the housekeeper for the Stuart family, on the NBC Saturday morning children's show, "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters"

Played recurring role of Melba Chegley on the NBC sitcom, "Julia", starring Diahann Carroll in the title role

Played housekeeper Marie Gillespie on the NBC and later ABC mystery series, "The Father Dowling Mysteries"

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

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

Played one of the leading roles, Aunt Eller, in the Broadway revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, "Oklahoma!"

Bonus Trivia


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).