Perry Wilson Anthony Perry Anthony TRURO Perry Wilson Anthony passed away on December 30, 2009 at the Chestnut Hill Benevolent Association. Her daughter was with her. Born Mary Elizabeth Wilson in Bound Brook, N.J., in 1916, she changed her name to Perry at age 13. She was the daughter of Dorothy Roe and Edward A. Wilson, who bought the family home in Truro in 1923. She met her husband, Joseph Anthony, at the Tamara Daykarhanova School for the Stage in New York City and married him seven years later in 1942. In 1938 Perry and Joe became founding members of the America Actors Company, known for its experimental work. Their first show was Trojan Women with Horton Foote and Mildred Dunnock, who remained her lifelong friends. Her stage name was Perry Wilson. In and out of summer stock and regional work, Ms. Wilson appeared on Broadway in Cream in the Well by Lynn Riggs, directed by Mary Hunter. Other Broadway credits include Village Green with Frank Craven, The First Crocus with Martha Hedman, Pillar to Post, Mexican Mural with Libby Holman and Montgomery Clift, The Stranger, and His and Hers with Celeste Holm and Robert Preston. Her favorite role was Bessie Watty in The Corn is Green, in which she toured nationwide with Ethel Barrymore. They would travel by train all night, sleeping in a recliner chair, and arrive at the new theater in time to restage trouble spots, perform and get back on the train. It was grueling but she loved getting a feel for the whole country. She was proud to be cast with Canada Lee in On Whitman Avenue, a play about racial discrimination. Eleanor Roosevelt came backstage and congratulated them all. Ms. Wilson also appeared on TV in episodes of Kraft Mystery Theater, Philco Goodyear TV Playhouse, United Steel Hour, Naked City, and The Defenders. Her movie credits include the first sympathetic portrayal of mental illness in "Fear Strikes Out," with Tony Perkins and Karl Malden, and The Matchmaker (the original Hello Dolly) with Shirley MacLaine, Tony Perkins, Shirley Booth, Paul Ford and Robert Morse. However, after she had two children, she decided theater and raising kids didn't mix, so she quit the theater and took up painting. Her first teacher was her father, known for his limited-edition illustrations of the classics. She also studied with Jerry Farnsworth in Truro. Her paintings were largely landscapes, which she exhibited in New York and Cape Cod to support causes like the Truro Conservation Trust, Pamet River Preservation and Amnesty International. She was also a strong champion of the "Save the Town Hall" Committee in her beloved Truro. After she retired to Truro, she donated a room of antiques to the Truro Historical Society, The Wilson Room. In her early years she was an avid tennis player and remained an enthusiast to the end. A lifelong Christian Scientist, she was known for her cheerfulness and positive outlook. She was predeceased by her sister Jane. She is survived by her son, Peter Anthony of Barre, Vt., two grandchildren, Nikolas and Genevieve, and her daughter, Ellen Anthony of Truro. Donations may be made in her name to the Truro Conservation Trust.
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Published in The Cape Codder from Jan. 6 to Jan. 13, 2010.