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Moviegoers have seen Elizabeth Wilson in, for Mike Nichols, The Graduate (as Benjamin’s [Dustin Hoffman] mother), Catch-22, Day of the Dolphin, and Regarding Henry; Robert Redford’s Quiz Show (as Charles Van Doren’s [Ralph Fiennes] mother); Barry Sonnenfeld’s The Addams Family (as Fester’s [Christopher Lloyd] wicked mother); Robert Benton’s Nobody’s Fool (with Paul Newman); Anthony Harvey’s Grace Quigley (with Katharine Hepburn); John Schlesinger’s The Believers; Colin Higgins’ Nine to Five (as Roz, the office snitch); Melvin Frank’s The Prisoner of Second Avenue; Alan Arkin’s Little Murders; John Cassavetes’ A Child is Waiting (with Judy Garland and Burt Lancaster); John Cromwell’s The Goddess (with Kim Stanley); Fielder Cook’s Patterns (for which she was a BAFTA Award nominee); and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, among many other films.
Her numerous Broadway appearances include the Yale Repertory/Arvin Brown production of Ah, Wilderness! with Jason Robards, Colleen Dewhurst, and George Hearn; the Tony Award-winning revival of Morning’s at Seven, which originated at the Lake Forest Theatre in Illinois, where she won a Joseph Jefferson Award as Best Actress; and the New York Shakespeare Festival’s production of Sticks and Bones, for which she won a Tony Award. Ms. Wilson’s Broadway debut was in 1952, in Picnic; she reprised her role in Joshua Logan’s film version.
Her Broadway and off-Broadway credits include Taken in Marriage, for which she won an Obie Award; Threepenny Opera, for which she was a Drama Desk Award nominee; Salonika, opposite Jessica Tandy, for which she won a Drama Desk Award; You Can’t Take It With You, again alongside Jason Robards and Colleen Dewhurst; All’s Well That Ends Well; Sheep on the Runway; the Playwrights Horizons production of Harry Kondoleon’s Anteroom, for which she won an Obie Award; and Mike Nichols’ revival of Uncle Vanya, with George C. Scott, Barnard Hughes, and Julie Christie.
Ms. Wilson was an Emmy Award nominee for her role as Frances Schreuder’s (Lee Remick) mother in the miniseries Nutcracker, directed by Paul Bogart. Her other miniseries and telefilms include Queen and Scarlett, directed by John Erman; In the Best of Families, directed by Jeff Bleckner; and Joseph Sargent’s Skylark, with Glenn Close and Christopher Walken. Her TV work also includes starring in the series East Side/West Side with George C. Scott, and Doc, with Barnard Hughes; and guest-starring on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, All in the Family,and Murder, She Wrote.
She studied with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse. Ms. Wilson was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and now lives in New York City.