Elizabeth Wilson

Elizabeth Welter Wilson (April 4, 1921 May 9, 2015) was an American actress whose career spanned nearly 70 years, including memorable roles in film and television. In 1972 she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her role in Sticks and Bones. Wilson was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2006.[1][2][3]

Elizabeth Wilson
Elizabeth Wilson in April 2011
Elizabeth Welter Wilson

(1921-04-04)April 4, 1921
DiedMay 9, 2015(2015-05-09) (aged 94)
Years active1953–2012

Early life

Wilson was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the daughter of insurance agent Henry Dunning Wilson and Marie Ethel (née Welter)Wilson.[3] Her maternal grandfather was a wealthy German immigrant, and Wilson was raised in a large mansion.[4][5] She attended the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, then studied with Sanford Meisner at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City.


Wilson was a character actress, appearing in over 30 movies and many Broadway plays. The Los Angeles Times noted: "Tall and elegant, Wilson often played women who had or sought authority."[6]

Wilson made her Broadway debut in Picnic in 1953. Her stage credits include Desk Set (1955), The Good Woman of Szechuan (1970), Sticks and Bones (1972), Uncle Vanya (1973), Threepenny Opera (1976), The Importance of Being Earnest (1977), Morning's at Seven (1980), You Can't Take It with You (1983), Ah, Wilderness! (1988), and A Delicate Balance (1996).[7]

Wilson made her screen debut reprising her stage role in the 1955 film adaptation of Picnic as Christine Schoenwalder.[8] Additional films include Patterns (1956), The Goddess (1958),[9] The Tunnel of Love (1958),[10] A Child Is Waiting (1963,[11] The Birds (1963),[12] The Graduate (1967),[13] Jenny (1970), Catch-22 (1970)[14] Little Murders (1971), The Day of the Dolphin (1973),[15] The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975),[16] 9 to 5 (1980),[17] Grace Quigley (1984),[18] Regarding Henry (1991),[19] The Addams Family (1991),[20] and Quiz Show (1994).[21] Her last film role was as Sara Delano Roosevelt in Hyde Park on Hudson (2012).[22]

Wilson's television credits include early anthology series such as Kraft Television Theatre, The United States Steel Hour, and Armstrong Circle Theatre. She was a regular on the primetime drama East Side/West Side and sitcom Doc and she appeared in Dark Shadows, Another World, All in the Family, Murder, She Wrote, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.[3] She also appeared in television movies, including The Boys Next Door (1996).[23] She appeared in the miniseries Nutcracker: Money, Madness and Murder in March 1987 as the mother of Frances Schreuder (played by Lee Remick),[24] as well as the miniseries Alex Haley's Queen.


On May 9, 2015, at age 94, Wilson died at her home in New Haven, Connecticut.


Awards and nominations



  1. Belcher, David (May 10, 2015). "Elizabeth Wilson, a Vivid Actress in Many Character Roles, Dies at 94". The New York Times. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  2. Gans, Andrew. "LuPone, Hearn, Wilson and the Late Wasserstein and Wilson Among Theater Hall of Fame Inductees", playbill.com, October 10, 2006.
  3. "Elizabeth Wilson Biography (1921-)". FilmReference.com. Advameg, Inc.
  4. Goldberg, Bonnie (July 17, 2014). "Well-Played". Daily Nutmeg. New Haven, Connecticut. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  5. Jean, Pat Grand. "First Q&A: Elizabeth Wilson" Connecticut Magazine, April 2012
  6. Chawkins, Steve. "Elizabeth Wilson dies at 94; actress often played women of authority", Los Angeles Times, May 11, 2015.
  7. "Elizabeth Wilson Broadway Credits", playbillvault.com, accessed May 11, 2015
  8. Picnic Overview, Cast and Crew, tcm.com; accessed May 11, 2015.
  9. " The Goddess Cast and Crew", allmovie.com, accessed May 13, 2015.
  10. " The Tunnel of Love Cast and Crew", tcm.com, accessed May 13, 2015.
  11. " A Child Is Waiting Cast and Crew", allmovie.com, accessed May 13, 2015.
  12. " The Birds Cast and Crew", tcm.com, accessed May 14, 2015.
  13. " The Graduate Cast and Crew", tcm.com, accessed May 12, 2015.
  14. " Catch-22 Cast and Crew", tcm.com, accessed May 14, 2015.
  15. " The Day of the Dolphin Cast and Crew", tcm.com, accessed May 12, 2015
  16. Passafiume, Andrea. The Prisoner of Second Avenue, tcm.com, accessed May 12, 2015.
  17. " Nine to Five Overview", tcm.com, accessed May 12, 2015.
  18. Thomas, Kevin. "Movie Reviews. 'Quigley': Hepburn, Nolte Light Up A Black Comedy", articles.latimes.com, December 13, 1985; accessed May 12, 2015.
  19. " Regarding Henry Cast and Crew", allmovie.com, accessed May 12, 2015
  20. Staff."Review: 'The Addams Family'" Variety, December 31, 1990.
  21. Quiz Show Overview, Cast and Crew, tcm.com, accessed May 11, 2015.
  22. Hyde Park on Hudson Cast and Crew", allmovie.com, accessed May 11, 2015.
  23. Horowitz, Lisa A. "Review: The Boys Next Door", Variety.com, February 4, 1996.
  24. O'Connor, John J. "Murder, Reheated By a Star". The New York Times. March 22, 1987. p.H29
  25. "Emmy Award Search. Elizabeth Wilson Nominations" Archived 2015-05-18 at the Wayback Machine, emmys.com, accessed May 12, 2015.
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