In honor of Mother’s Day, we thought we’d take a look at 10 of the best, or at least most beloved mother’s in TV history.
1. June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley)
Dealing with Wally and The Beav was one thing, but Mrs. Cleaver gets extra bonus points for having to deal with Eddie Haskell. How she didn’t smack his smug little face each and every time she saw him is truly remarkable. Mrs. Cleaver is the poster child for the full time homemaker.
2. Carol Brady (Florence Henderson)
Having three children of your own and then agreeing to marry a man with three more…that’s asking a lot. Having an architect for a husband that designs a home with two bedrooms for six children…well that’s just asking for high-larity! But seriously, they can’t afford a larger house and yet they can afford a full-time maid? Oh Sherwin Schwartz, you mad genius!
3. Shirley Partridge (Shirley Jones)
“And the Oscar goes to…Shirley Jones?!” That’s still hard for me to get my head wrapped around. Don’t get me wrong, I always liked Miss Jones on the Partridge Family, but her Oscar winning performance as Lulu bains in Elmer Gantry is a little underwhelming. But back to the task at hand. Mrs. Partridge was pretty remarkable; a single mother raising not one, but five children and one of them was Danny Bonaduce. And to add to the confusion, Mrs. Partridge’s oldest son was played by Miss Jones real-life stepson. Cue the therapist.
4. Samantha Stevens (Elizabeth McGovern)
Samantha Stevens should be given all sorts of credit. She had to deal with the oddest husband only to have him replaced by the dullest husband and both of them were Dicks. Her family was a nightmare, her neighbors unbearable, and the whole time she had to resist using magical powers that would’ve made everything so much simpler. And she raised two adorable children. Well done, Sammy!
5. Clair Huxtable (Phylicia Rashad)
Raising five children while practicing law is one thing, dealing with the unbearable fashions of the 80’s is quite another, and allowing your husband to wear the worst sweaters ever made…well okay, it was Bill Cosby and he ran the gig. You never had any doubt as to who was really in control of this family. One look from Miss Huxtable said it all. And Miss Rashad should be given a lot of credit for going toe to toe with Mr. Cosby. No easy task.
6. Kitty Foreman (Debra Jo Rupp)
Miss Foreman seems like the kind of mother you want living in your neighborhood. You might not exactly want her as your mother, but she’d be nice to have close by. Of course she’s got a lot of baggage being the wife of Red, and you have to admire a woman who can live with that and still come out smiling. Even more impressive is her ability to suffer Topher Grace day after day for the better part of 8 seasons. Perhaps I’ve misjudged Red. Topher really is a “dumb ass” and that excuses a lot.
7. Marge Simpson (Julie Kavner)
Maggie. Lisa. Bart. Marge’s children. Oh, and Homer, the biggest child of them all. As messed up as everything gets, and things get really messed up, Marge is always there for all four of her children. And she love them unconditionally. One of the most touching things about the series is her affection for her husband. Love is blind and she accepts her family for who they are. Animated, yes, but with more heart than a lot of non-animated series.
8. Marion Cunningham (Marion Ross)
For a suburban housewife living in Milwaukee in the 50’s, Mrs. C had it going on. She was ‘that’ mother. You know the one; she ran the house where all the neighborhood kids hung out. Never mind that this continued for Ralph and Potsie well into their 30’s. It was an open door policy for all with a special welcome for Arthur.
9. Laura Petrie (Mary Tyler Moore)
You won’t find a more fashionable mother on this list. In the age of Camelot, Laura Petrie outdid Jackie Kennedy. Laura Petrie managed to make household chores look glamorous, and Mary Tyler Moore had the comic chops to keep up with Dick Van Dyke.
10. Morticia Addams (Carolyn Jones)
This might seem an odd choice to close out our list, but consider this; Morticia was completely supportive of her entire family, always treated guests warmly and had a passion for her husband that was sadly lacking in her contemporaries. And she was Goth before there was Goth.