Oscar Actors: Wycherly, Margaret (Supporting Actress Nominee, Sergeant York, 1941)

Born Margaret De Wolfe Wycherly to American parents in London on October 26, 1881, Wycherly received one Oscar nomination, in the Best Supporting Actress category, in 1941.

After an established career as a stage actress, and one silent film, she made her first talkie, The Thirteen Chair, based on her husband’s 1916 play, a mystery melodrama directed by Tod Browning.

Wycherley appeared in Howard Hawks 1941 Oscar-winning biopic, Sergeant York. She was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for playing the role of Mother York (Gary Cooper’s mom).

She is best remembered for Raoul Walsh’s 1949 crime-noir masterpiece, White Heat, playing “Ma Jarrett,” the domineering and controlling mother of the psychopathic gangster Cody Jarrett, memorably starring Jimmy Cagney (“Top of the World, Ma”).

Wycherly starred in some Broadway plays, including Tobacco Road, Random Harvest, Liliom, The Thirteenth Chair (a role that she reprised in the screen version).

Other films include George Cukor’s Keeper of the Flame, The Yearling, Forever Amber, The Man with a Cloak, and Johnny Angel.

She was married to writer Bayard Veiller in 1901, with whom she raised on son, Anthony Veiller, who also became a successful writer; the couple divorced in 1922.

Wycherly died June 6, 1956 in NYC, at age 74, after making a dozen or so sound features.