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Mary Wickes: I Know I'...
Steve Taravella
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Mary Wickes: I Know I've Seen That Face Before

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  70 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Moviegoers know her as the housekeeper in "White Christmas," the nurse in "Now, Voyager," and the crotchety choir director in "Sister Act." This book, filled with never-published behind-the-scenes stories from Broadway and Hollywood, chronicles the life of a complicated woman who brought an assortment of unforgettable nurses, nuns, and housekeepers to life on screen and st ...more
Published May 17th 2013 by University Press of Mississippi
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Biblio Files
Feb 26, 2013 Biblio Files rated it really liked it
What a surprise this book was. I guess I was expecting something like one of Mary Wickes' movies -- light entertainment, amusing, inconsequential. Steve Taravella's biography of Wickes is serious and rigorous, even academic. That's not to say it's a tough read, but it is a tough-minded biography. Quite often, celebrity bios are written by smitten fans, but Taravella is dispassionate and fair.

The result is a portrait of a Mary Wickes who is sharper-edged than I imagined. Taravella starts with th
Michael Ritchie
Aug 28, 2013 Michael Ritchie rated it it was ok
Bio of memorable character actress Mary Wickes, whose career ran from Miss Preen, the befuddled nurse in The Man Who Came to Dinner in 1940 to the Sister Act movies in the 90s. I like Wickes but this book does her a disservice. She appears not to have led a terribly interesting life, so the book should perhaps have focused more tightly on her acting, but instead the author uses seemingly every bit of every interview he conducted to pad out the book. For example, it's not enough to suggest that W ...more
Feb 13, 2015 Martin rated it liked it
Whenever an older friend and I watch an old movie where Mary Wickes appears, we yell “Mary Wickes!” And then she’s gone. I’ve always wondered what her story was, and here we get it. Unfortunately, there is not a ton to report. This book needed to be half its length. The author beats every issue to death, such as her frugality, her conservative views, her close relationship with her mother, and her lack of a romantic life which caused her to focus on furthering her career, to the point of being p ...more
May 18, 2016 Mediaman rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, actress, film
This 300-page book may be the longest ever devoted to such a minor character actress. I absolutely loved Mary Wickes and enjoy all of her performances, but this book takes her way too seriously. There are not enough interesting things about her life to call for such a lengthy biography, and the author does not spend enough time on the few significant roles she is best known for. Despite constantly telling us that Wickes was not respected enough or paid enough for "an actress of her status," Wick ...more
Harvey Solomon
Aug 06, 2013 Harvey Solomon rated it it was amazing
Relegated to supporting roles throughout her long career, Mary Wickes is perfectly captured in this especially well-titled biography, "I Know I've Seen That Face Before."

Bigger name stars, of course, are often the subject of multiple biographies. So it's a testament to author Steve Taravella who singled out this veteran supporting player -- a most memorable, salty one at that -- for an exhaustively researched, entertainingly written book.

Many biographers string together oft-told, second-hand sto
I remember seeing Mary Wickes in Where Angels Go Trouble Follows and the Sister Act movies, but she's been in so many more. Some of those I've even seen like White Christmas and Moonlight Bay. She was also in one of my favorite episodes of I Love Lucy and I didn't even realize it.

Taravella chronicles the life of this beloved character actress who truly made a mark on Hollywood. Sadly, not many people know her by name when they see her in her movies. In fact, the year she passed away she was lef
Jul 30, 2013 Craig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: die-hard film fans
I adored Mary Wickes. Very funny lady who was able to turn a line whether it was for television, stage, or screen. This book provided more insight into a very personal life. However, Ms. Wickes did not necessarily have the kind of life biographies are written about which makes for, unfortunately, a rather dull read. If the author had removed the painstaking research he did also for the people who were orbiting Mary's life, it would have been a thin book indeed. The book did provide some context ...more
Jan 11, 2015 Donna rated it did not like it
So, don't really feel like I got any real sense of the woman. I can infer reasons of my own for what little evidence there was for her behaviors, but there's no personality here. As much as you might be interested in a person, pick someone who kept copious diaries or wrote unending correspondence, or don't wait until she and pretty much everyone who knew her when is in their grave.
Jun 08, 2013 Polly rated it it was amazing
I'm giving this 5 stars because I'm so glad it exists! Someone needed to write a book on Mary Wickes - she's in so many of my favorite movies! This was a great insight into the woman behind all those characters. I was especially interested to read about the close relationship between Ms. Wickes and Lucille Ball and her family.
Feb 19, 2015 Elaine rated it it was amazing
Mary Wiickes, who played the housekeeper in White Christmas, spent a lifetime playing housekeepers, nuns, & nurses but lived alone dedicated to her craft. An excellent book written after her death but giving us a window into a very complex woman's life.
John Reilly
Sep 18, 2013 John Reilly rated it really liked it
Mary Wickes' life wasn't one of high drama but I'm glad that this great character actress gets the attention she deserves in this well researched biography.
Dec 11, 2013 Wanda rated it liked it
Ok biography.
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