Birth Date: June 13, 1910
Birth Place: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Date of Death: October 22, 1995 / Age: 85
Location of Death: Los Angeles, California, USA
Cause of Death: cancer
Biography: Mary Wickes (June 13, 1910 - October 22, 1995) was a United States film and television actress.
Born Mary Isabelle Wickenhauser in St. Louis, Missouri, Wickes began acting in films in the late 1930s. She was also a member of Orson Welles troupe on his radio drama Mercury Theatre of the Air during this period. One of her earliest significant film appearances was in The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942), reprising her stage role of Nurse Preen. A tall, gangling woman with a distinctive voice, Wickes would ultimately prove herself adept as a comedienne, but she first attracted attention in the film Now, Voyager (1942), as the wise-cracking nurse who helped Bette Davis' character during her mother's illness. The same year she had a large part in the Bud Abbott and Lou Costello comedy-whodunnit, titled Who Done It?. She continued playing supporting roles in films during the next decade.
In the 1950s she played regular roles in the television sitcoms Make Room for Daddy and Dennis The Menace, as well as appearing as Emma the housekeeper in the holiday classic White Christmas (1954), starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. She served as the live-action reference model for Cruella De Vil in Walt Disney film One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961). A lifelong friend of Lucille Ball, she played frequent guest roles in each of Ball's television series, I Love Lucy, Here's Lucy and The Lucy Show. She was also a regular on the Sid and Marty Krofft children's television show Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. By the 1980s, her appearances in television series such as M*A*S*H, The Love Boat, Kolchak: The Night Stalker and Murder, She Wrote had made her a widely recognisable character actress.
Her appearance in the 1990 film Postcards From the Edge brought her attention; however, she achieved the biggest success of her career in Sister Act (1992). As Sister Mary Lazarus, Wickes' portrayal of a gruff but vulnerable elderly nun contributed to the film's popularity, and she reprised the role in the sequel Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993). She appeared in the 1994 film version of Little Women before she became ill.
Hospitalised in 1995, Wickes died after surgery for cancer.
Her final film role, voicing the gargoyle Laverne in the animated feature The Hunchback of Notre Dame was released posthumously in 1996.