There have been many beloved TV moms throughout the years; each bringing her own brand of special and leaving her own distinctive mark on TV history. To celebrate Mother’s Day, this Examiner has compiled a list of her favorite TV moms from the 1950s to present. In part one we’ll salute the TV moms from the 1950s to ‘70s.
The following list is by no means all inclusive – choosing only three moms per decade – but you can take a peek at the TV moms who weren’t included in Biography.com’s list of Favorite TV Moms.
Moms of the 1950s
- Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) – I Love Lucy, 1951-1957. Always good for a laugh, Lucy was mother to Little Ricky, wife to Ricky Ricardo. Lucy made TV history when she gave birth to Little Ricky on the episode that aired on January 19, 1953. Interestingly, her real life son was also born that day, by cesarean section. It was I Love Lucy that set the stage for every family sitcom to follow.
- June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley) – Leave it to Beaver, 1957-1963. Mother to Theodore (“Beaver”) and Wally, married to Ward Cleaver. It is Mrs. Cleaver who springs most readily to mind when we think of the perfect 1950s apron-wearing, cookie-baking wife and mother. She was perfection personified.
- Donna Stone (Donna Reed) – The Donna Reed Show, 1958-1966. Mother to Jeff and Mary, married to Alex Stone. Donna Reed (I simply don’t think Donna Stone when I think of this TV mom), much like Mrs. Cleaver epitomized the perfect 1950s mom and housewife.
Moms of the 1960s
- Laura Petrie (Mary Tyler Moore) – The Dick Van Dyke Show, 1961-1966. Laura was mother to Ritchie and married to Rob Petrie. “Oh Rob!” Is what immediately springs to mind when I think of Mary Tyler Moore in this role that IMDb describes as “the charmingly loopy wife of star Dick Van Dick.”
- Samantha Stephens (Elizabeth Montgomery) – Bewitched, 1964-1972. With a single twitch of her nose, women across America wanted to be Samantha. Mother to Tabitha, who inherited her mother’s witchy powers and married to mortal, Darrin Stephens.
- Carol Brady (Florence Henderson) – The Brady Bunch, 1969-1974. Mother to the infamous Brady Bunch – one of television’s first blended families – Marsha, Jan, Cindy, Greg, Peter and Bobby, and married to Mike Brady. Mrs. Brady in all her bell-bottomed glory never lost her cool and managed her brood of six with the help of Alice.
Moms of the 1970s
- Maude Findlay (Bea Arthur) – Maude, 1972-1978. Maude was seen as one of the most groundbreaking sitcoms of its time. With a strong, liberal female lead, it didn’t shy away from controversial topics, focusing on women’s rights and other issues of the era, according to Biography.com. Maude had an adult daughter, Carol Traynor and was married to her fourth husband Walter Findlay during the series.
- Marion Cunningham (Marion Ross) – Happy Days, 1974-1984. Marion Cunningham, or Mrs. C, was mother to Richie and Joanie, and was married to Howard Cunningham. The show was set in the 1950s and Mrs. C followed beautifully in the footsteps of the actual moms of the 1950s before her. She had the distinction of being the only one who could get away with calling the Fonz by his real name of Arthur.
- Louise Jefferson (Isabel Sanford) – The Jeffersons, 1975-1985. Louise Jefferson, mother to Lionel and wife of the opinionated George Jefferson. Louise is touted as being a level-headed, open-minded woman whose task was often to keep George in line when his mouth got him in trouble, (IMDb).
~ View a slideshow of our TV moms of the ’50s through the ’70s.
The ‘70s especially had numerous incredible TV moms who made their mark on television history and aren’t included here. See who didn’t make the list at Biography.com. What TV mom favorites of yours didn’t make the list from these three decades? Let us know in the comments below.
Come back tomorrow for part two of our Salute to TV moms, as we celebrate the TV moms of the 1980s to present.
(Sources: Biography.com | IMDb)
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