You remember her in 1949’s White Heat. You remember her in 1941’s Sergeant York.

Those were her principal maternal roles.

Here (below) she is in the former picture during which James Cagney explosively closes out the drama with the words: Made it, Ma. Top Of The World. (Note the less-than-thrilled expression of Virginia Mayo on the left, who plays a double-dealing floozy less than pleased with Cagney’s attachment to Mom.)

White Heat (1949)

In Howard Hawks’ Sergeant York, Wycherly plays the mother of Gary Cooper, the Tennessee farmer-turned pacifist who converts himself into an ace rifleman in World War I. Cooper won an Oscar for his part while Wycherly came away with a best supporting actress nomination. (Here she is below; that’s Dickie Moore on the left and June Lockhart on the right, Coop in the midddle.)

Sergeant York (1941)

But she also played another maternal figure in 1946’s melodrama about a boy and an orphaned fawn in The Yearling (as Ma Forrester)…..

The Yearling (1946) - Images - IMDb

The Yearling (1946) - Full Cast & Crew - IMDb

And enjoy her performance as “Mrs. Spong” in 1947’s Forever Amber.

Margaret Wycherly

Wycherly was born in London in 1881, trained and toiled as a stage actress on both sides of the pond, and made her first film — a silent titled The Fight — in 1915. She was 34 at the time. In all, she racked up just 32 movie and tv credits.

Wycherly retired at the age of 72, and died in 1956 at 74. She remains one of classic Hollywood’s prototypical mothers.


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