Wilson was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the daughter of Marie Ethel (née Welter) and insurance agent Henry Dunning Wilson. Her maternal grandfather was a wealthy German immigrant, and Wilson was raised in a large mansion. She attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, then studied with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse. 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). Wilson made her screen debut reprising her stage role in the 1955 film adaptation of Picnic as “Christine Schoenwalder”. Additional film credits include The Goddess (1958), The Tunnel of Love (1958), A Child Is Waiting (1963), The Birds (1963), The Graduate (1967), Catch-22 (1970), Little Murders (1971), The Day of the Dolphin (1973), The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975), 9 to 5 (1980), Grace Quigley (1984), Regarding Henry (1991), The Addams Family (1991), and Quiz Show (1994). Her last film role was as Sara Delano Roosevelt in Hyde Park on Hudson (2012).
Wilson’s television credits include such early anthology series 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. She also appeared in made for television movies, including The Boys Next Door (1996). She appeared in the NBC minseries, Nutcracker:Money, Madness and Murder in March 1987 as the mother of Frances Schrueder (played by Lee Remick). On May 9, 2015, aged 94, Wilson died at her home in New Haven, Connecticut.
- April, 04, 1921
- Grand Rapids, Michigan
- May, 09, 2015
- New Haven, Connecticut