Tall, lovely Mary Fickett was born on May 23, 1932, in Bronxville, New York; she is the daughter of the renowned radio announcer Homer Fickett. Mary attended Wheaton College. She studied acting at New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse. Mary received a Theatre World award for her acting in "Tea and Sympathy." From there, Mary made the transition to television, honing her craft on early TV in such shows as "Kraft Television Theatre," while continuing to do excellent work on stage. In 1958, Mary got a Tony nomination for Best Actress for her performance in "Sunrise at Campobello."
Mary's breakout performance was in the wildly popular TV series "The Untouchables," in the 1961 episode "Power Play" with Albert Salmi-- she portrayed Emmy Sarver, a good (though man-hungry) country girl who had a bad habit of trying to keep wild things in a cage, her latest acquisition being Steve "Country Boy" Parrish (Albert Salmi) who desperately tried to break free of her (and Eliot Ness and his men, and the mob which was gunning for him).
Offscreen, Mary married James Congdon, an actor who had appeared in 1950s sci-fi movies such as "When Worlds Collide" and "4-D Man," and later appeared in soap operas like "Another World" and "The Edge of Night." They had 2 children: Kenyon and Bronwyn; later Mary and James divorced. Mary developed her signature role portraying the beloved Nurse Ruth Martin on "All My Children" from 1970-1996, a remarkable run. In 1971, Mary did a very brave thing: through her Ruth Martin character, she gave a speech that criticized the Vietnam War. With conservative sponsors, that could have resulted in an end to her acting career. But public sentiment backed up Mary's brave words-- Mary won the Emmy award for her performance, in fact, it was the first time an Emmy had been given to an actress in a daytime soap. Mary's 2nd marriage was to Jay Scheer in 1973; they divorced. On June 1, 1979, Mary married a director, Allen Fristoe, and they are still married. Allen had directed soap operas like "The Edge of Night" and "Another World" which Mary had starred in.
In 1996, Mary asked to be taken off AMC, so she could take care of her sick husband Allen Fristoe; (her role on the TV series was recast with another actress, Lee Meriwether). Now, Mary is back on the show. Mary currently lives with her husband in Cape Cod, and she sends her best wishes to all her fans.