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Mary Louise Wilson

Mary Louise Wilson

Born November 12, 1931 in New Haven, Connecticut, Mary Louise Wilson was the daughter of Julius Lane Wilson, a doctor who specialized in the treatment of tuberculosis. She spent much of her childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana, where her father taught at Tulane University and co-founded the Oschner Clinic (now Oschsner Medical Center). Wilson later attended Northwestern University before relocating to New York, where she worked for famed architect Marcel Breuer before making her New York stage debut in 1959. Wilson's first appearance on Broadway came with the notorious 1963 flop "Hot Spot" with Judy Holliday, but she soon rallied with a co-starring role in the Tony-winning "Flora the Red Menace" (1965), with music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb ("Cabaret"). She was soon a fixture of the Broadway drama and musical scene, enjoying critical acclaim with turns in Neil Simon's "Promises, Promises" (1968) and a revival of "Gypsy" with Angela Lansbury. Wilson's screen and television career also began in earnest during this period, most notably with a recurring role as friend and neighbor Ginny Wroblicki on the family sitcom "One Day at a Time" (CBS 1975-1984). Wilson continued to divide her time between stage, films and television throughout the 1980s and early '90s, with turns in Woody Allen's "Zelig" (1983) and Richard Benjamin's "The Money Pit" (1986) among her credits. In the mid-1990s, Wilson enjoyed a string of personal triumphs on the stage, beginning in 1995 with her Drama Desk and Obie Award wins for her portrayal of fashion editor Diana Vreeland in "Full Gallop," a one-woman show she also co-authored. Three years later, Wilson earned a Tony nomination for the celebrated 1998 revival of "Cabaret," which was soon followed by higher-profile stage and screen projects, including appearances on "The Sopranos" as a potential love interest for Dominic Chianese's Uncle Junior, and "Frasier" (NBC 1993-2004). Wilson finally claimed a Tony in 2007 for her performance as Edith Bouvier Beale, a distant and deeply eccentric cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy, in "Grey Gardens," a musical based on the Maysles Brothers' documentary of the same name. Her film and television career continued in the years that followed, with appearances as Louie C.K.'s mother on "Louie" (FX, 2010-15) and in Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" among her more notable projects.
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