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Mary Wickes Biographer, Steve Taravella to Visit!

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Mary Wickes Biographer, Steve Taravella to Visit!

Postby moira finnie » August 17th, 2013, 3:22 pm

Your invitation is here! Let's mark the unofficial end of Summer with a weekend with award-winning journalist Steve Taravella, the author of "Mary Wickes: I Know I've Seen That Face Before" (University Press of Mississippi). The thread devoted to the Q & A with this author is now open at the link below. Steve Taravella will be here on 8/31 & 9/1 to answer you questions:
viewtopic.php?f=96&t=6323

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For many of us, she is a touchstone as much as one of the character actresses who helped define the classic qualities in films such as Now, Voyager, The Man Who Came to Dinner, White Christmas, By the Light of the Silvery Moon, Sister Act, and more. Whenever Mary Wickes pops up in a film, you know that there is something delightful about to happen, even when this performer took roles that might seem smaller than her talent. Mary whipped each role to an entertaining, insightful froth that put the fizz into plays, television and films well beyond the words in the script. Some of the ingredients in her talent were a bit of realistic vinegar along with a dash of humorous ginger, as well as a droll and often elegant touch conveying a character's life story in a few words with just a raised eyebrow, a shrug, or an air of brisk efficiency.

Off-screen, her friendship was treasured by many people in and out of the spotlight, including playwright George S. Kaufman, Bette Davis, Lucille Ball, Doris Day, Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon. An only child and a deeply devout person, Mary was exceptionally close to her mother and father, yet avoided contact with part of her family, despite her filial devotion. A strong work ethic, a lifelong habit of reticent stoicism, and a sensitivity about her gangly, 5'10" appearance may have played a part in her remaining independent and single at a time when convention directed most women into marriage.

Working for more than a decade, biographer Steve Taravella has gathered the elements of Wickes' public and private life through his research and almost 300 interviews with various people who knew Mary Wickes. Reading his book--even though we think we know Mary Wickes from her many roles as a nurse, a housekeeper, a nun, or a likable know-it-all--unveiled much more about this individual's long career. You can read more about the background and the purchase of this welcome biography here. Did you know that:

Mary Wickes was the original Mary Poppins?
Mary Wickes was the Disney animators' model for Cruella de Vil of 101 Dalmatians fame?
Mary Wickes was a member of Orson Welles’ groundbreaking Mercury Theatre and appears in the newly restored Welles film, Too Much Johnson?
Mary Wickes was one original cast member who appeared in the stage, screen and television versions of The Man Who Came to Dinner?

If you would like to know more about this intriguing lady and exchange your thoughts with Steve Taravella, please join us, beginning two weeks from today, as we gather to celebrate the life and career of Mary Wickes. I'll bring the virtual hot dogs and cole slaw to our Labor Day weekend festival--you bring the questions, okay?:

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Re: Mary Wickes Biographer, Steve Taravella to Visit!

Postby moira finnie » August 22nd, 2013, 12:56 pm

To pique our interest in all things "Wickeworthy" as we approach Steve Taravella's visit to the SSO next weekend, here's a playlist chronicling the career of Mary Wickes. There are moments, entire movies and shows, as well as clips that are just too good to miss. Hope you will enjoy it and add anything missed:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL ... B9N-2RB1ns
Avatar: Frank McHugh (1898-1981)

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