Mommy, Dearest: Catching Up With TV’s Most Iconic Mothers

TV moms are some of the most likable characters on sitcoms. Sometimes we see similarities between them and our own moms, and for some people, fictional parents can fill the void of parents who might not be around in their own lives.

Sitcoms are some of the hardest forms of entertainment for actors to break out of, as it’s frequently hard to land a role as anything other than what they played on their first popular TV show. This is true for many actresses who played a matronly role on a television series.

Shelley Fabares

Shelley Fabares played the motherly role of Christine Armstrong on the show “Coach.” She was an icon of the 80s but since has diminished in acting roles. She now works as a producer of the SAG awards. We often see actresses move behind-the-scenes when they are unable to escape the immense status of their TV mom roles.

Phylicia Rashad

Phylicia Rashad is best known for her role as Billy Cosby’s wife, Clair Huxtable, on “The Cosby Show.” Since being on the show, she’s managed to remain outside the limelight much more than her notorious co-star, but has made some memorable performances on stage. Her role in “A Raisin In The Sun” earned her a Tony Award!

Patricia Richardson

Patricia Richardson played the role as Tim Allen’s wife, Jill Taylor, on the sitcom “Home Improvement.” Since being on the show, Patricia hasn’t landed any big roles. She has only made a few appearances on other shows and played small roles in a select few films. Regardless, she is still one of the most recognizable TV moms of all time.

Roseanne Barr

Roseanne Barr was best known for having her own sitcom, “Roseanne.” After being on the show, she had countless roles on various series as well as many appearances as herself. She now hosts “Last Comic Standing” and has recently made headlines after voicing her support for Trump (which she then denied).

Janet Hubert

Janet Hubert played the lovable Will Smith’s aunt, Vivian Banks, on the massive hit TV show “Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” Though she was the main character’s aunt, she still played an important motherly role. Since being on the show, she’s found herself in a select few other small roles. She appeared on “Gilmore Girls,” “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne,” and “NYPD Blues.”

Daphne Reid

Unfortunately, Janet Huber left “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” after only a couple seasons. Vivian Bank’s replacement was Daphne Reid, someone who we didn’t mind filling the role! Though she didn’t do much acting after her role on the hit show, she now manages her own production studios with her husband.

Meredith Baxter

Meredith Baxter played the role of Michael J. Fox’s mother on the sitcom “Family Ties.” After her long run on the show, she’s been known to write and direct several TV movies and even earned herself an Emmy. At one point, she reprised her role as Elyse Keaton for several episodes of “Family Guy.” She’s by far one of our favorite wholesome TV moms.

Joanna Kerns

The show “Growing Pains” produced the future star actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Less successful than Leo was his TV mom, Maggie Malone. Since her role on the show, Joanna Kerns has mostly been seen in made-for-TV movies. At least she hasn’t gone crazy like fellow “Growing Pains” actor Kirk Cameron, who can often be found screaming at people who are going to hell for not believing in his religious views.

Jackee Harry

Jackee Harry is known for Lisa Landry on the sitcom “Sister Sister.” On the show, she was sassy yet lovable, and she’s seemed to carry that character with her into other roles. She’s had a few small appearances on other comedy series, such as “Everybody Hates Chris.”

Florence Henderson

Florence Henderson played the role of the mother of the Bradys on the hit show, “The Brady Bunch.” Carol Brady was a charming mom (and stepmom) who always knew how to keep control over all six of her kids. Since her role on the show, Florence has been able to break away from the Carol Brady role, landing herself countless roles in TV and film. Most recently, she was seen on “Dancing With The Stars.”

Katey Sagal

Who could forget Katey Sagal as the loveable Peggy Bundy on “Married With Children?” On the show, she was forced to put up with her doofus of a husband, in a role we never seem to get sick of. Since the show ended, Katey has been able to get many other big roles, especially on “8 Simple Rules,” where she played another lovable mom. She’s primarily known now for her roles on “Futurama” and the superbly engaging, “Sons of Anarchy.”

Alley Mills

Alley Mills was the lovely mother on the show “The Wonder Years.” Since her long run on the show, Alley Mills had some trouble breaking away from her role as Nora Arnold. But she eventually landed a big role on the soap opera, “The Bold and the Beautiful,” as Pamela Douglas.

Suzanne Somers

The beautiful Suzanne Somers played the role of Carol Foster-Lambert on the series “Step By Step.” Since her long run on the comedy series, Suzanne has turned her focus more towards writing. She’s now well-known for her published novels and isn’t seen on TV much anymore.

Jean Stapleton

Jean Stapleton might be one of the most loved TV moms, for her role as Edith Bunker on “All in the Family.” We loved watching her put up with her grumpy husband Archie for many years. After her role on the show, she landed several small roles on other sitcoms, like “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Sadly, Jean died in 2013.

JoMarie Payton

JoMarie Payton played the loving Harriette Winslow on the TV sitcom “Family Matters.” On the show, we loved watching her next to the crazy character of Steve Urkel. Since being on the show, she’s only had a few minor roles on shows like on “Desperate Housewives” and “Meet The Browns.”

Doris Roberts

Doris Roberts made an art-form out of playing Marie Barone, the loving yet frustrating mother on “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Doris played the role so well that she was nominated for an Emmy Award seven times, and won four of them. Sadly, everyone’s favorite meddlesome mother passed away on April 19, 2016 at the age of 90. 

Patricia Heaton

Another mother from “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Patricia Heaton was known as the nagging wife on the show. Since being on the show, Patricia has been able to land herself a few other big roles. Most recently, she’s been playing the role of another sitcom mom on “The Middle.” The role on this new new show is much different than the mother she played on “Raymond.”

Holly Robinson Peete

Holly Robinson Peete was another well-known TV sitcom mom in her role on the series “Hangin With Mr. Cooper.” Since her role on the show, Holly has only grown as an actress. She played a part in “21 Jump Street,” as well as having a spot on “Celebrity Apprentice!”

Debra Jo Rupp

Debra Jo Rupp was one of our favorite TV moms for her role as Kitty on “That 70’s Show.” She was adorable and lovable, but since then she hasn’t had many roles. She is known now for being more of a stage actress and appears in various plays on the east coast, where she earns rave reviews.

Betsy Randle

You know Betsy Randle as Mrs. Matthews from one of our favorite sitcoms, “Boy Meets World.” She raised Cory and Sean and was an amazing wife to Alan. Since having such an important role on the series, Betsy hasn’t done much acting. After being on the show, she married a TV editor and had two sons! Looks like her on-screen life shifted towards her real life! She has recently reprised her role as Mrs. Matthews on the hit TV series “Girl Meets World.”

Jane Kaczmarek

Jane Kaczmarek was one of the funniest moms for her role as Lois on the show “Malcolm In The Middle.” We all know her co-star Bryan Cranston went on to be a huge Emmy-winning actor on “Breaking Bad.” Jane earned herself some Emmys for her role on the show and since is best known for her voice acting on “The Simpsons,” as the character Constance Harm.