Classic Sitcom Moms

Here, in chronological order, are a ten of our favorite classic TV sitcom moms…


  1. Harriett Nelson (Harriet Nelson), The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriett (ABC, 1952-66) — In the long-running series,

    Harriet Nelson

    Harriet, the actress, played a fictionalized version of herself alongside her real-life husband and sons. Together, they depicted the all-American nuclear family of the era, with Harriet as the family’s core. 
  2. Margaret Anderson (Jane Wyatt), Father Knows Best (CBS, 1954-55 and 1958-60; NBC, 1955-58) —When the successful radio show moved to television, Wyatt was cast as the as the kind, practical, and quietly persuasive Margaret. She usually managed to get her kids (and husband) to do what she wanted them to do without letting them realize it.
  3. June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley), Leave it to Beaver (CBS, 1957-58; ABC, 1958-63) —Like many TV moms of the era, this perfectly coiffed housewife cooked and cleaned while wearing a nice dress, heels, and pearls. But June’s warmth and sharp wit always came through, even when Wally, Beaver—and especially

    Donna Stone

    Eddie Haskell—tested her last nerve.
  4. Donna Stone (Donna Reed), The Donna Reed Show (1958-66, ABC) —Not only was Donna Stone a smart, funny, and caring mother, the entire series was built around the character. That was a tectonic shift for American sitcoms, which had previously focused on the kids or father.
  5. Laura Petrie (Mary Tyler Moore), The Dick Van Dyke Show (CBS, 1961-66) — From her exasperated “Oh, Rob!” exclamations to her infamous capris, Laura Petrie defied many stereotypical housewife tropes of the 50s and helped usher TV sitcoms into the modern era. This stay-at-home mom was always ready for an impromptu song and dance, too.
  6. Julia Baker (Diahann Carroll), Julia (NBC, 1968-71) — The series, and character, was groundbreaking in three ways: Julia was a

    Julia Bakersingle working mom—a widowed nurse—who was black. The character was also the first professional African-American woman to be depicted on TV.

  7. Carol Brady (Florence Henderson), The Brady Bunch (ABC, 1969-74)—As the loving mother of TV’s most famous blended family, Carol needed a good sense of humor to corral six kids (and occasionally a dog). Having a live-in housekeeper gave this TV mom more quality time to spend with her family.
  8. Shirley Partridge (Shirley Jones), The Partridge Family — (ABC, 1970-74) This musical matriarch did more than drive the family band’s Mondrian-inspired former school bus to gigs, she was part of the group. Off-stage, she was a warm, loving, single mom not above using a bit of reverse psychology to keep her brood of five in line.
  9. Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton), All in the Family — (CBS, 1971-79) Far from a dingbat, as her curmudgeonly husband called her, Edith was a sweet soul and peacemaker who seldom made waves. But when she did assert herself, people took heed. She was the heart of the Bunker household.
  10. Marion Cunningham (Marion Ross), Happy Days — (ABC, 1974-84) A 1950s housewife from Milwaukee, “Mrs. C” made the Cunningham household a haven for family as well as her kids’ friends. She was also the first to see the softer side of The Fonz, and treated him as family.

Related Stories

Cynopsis 07/19/24: Beloved Bob Newhart dies at 94

Beloved Bob Newhart dies at 94

Friday July 19, 2024 Today’s Premieres A+E: Cold Case Files: DNA Speaks at 9p; Tell Me How I Died at 10p AppleTV+: Omnivore; Lady in the Lake PrimeVideo: Betty La Fea: The Story Continues Today’s Finale WeTV: Mama June: From Not to Hot at 9p; Deb’s House at 10p Saturday’s Premiere A&E: New House No […]

Cynopsis 07/18/24: Shogun rakes in Emmy nods

"Shogun" rakes in Emmy nods

Thursday July 18, 2024 Today’s Premieres ABC: Press Your Luck at 8p; Lucky 13 at 9p BET+: Bruh Hulu: How I Caught My Killer Max: Kite Man: Hell Yeah! MTV: The West Coast Hustle Netflix: Cobra Kai; Master of the House Peacock: Those About to Die Prime Video: Top Class Tennis IN THE NEWS Hulu’s […]

07/17/24: Cynopsis Jobs


ASSOCIATE, GLOBAL LICENSING & DISTRIBUTION HEARST MEDIA PRODUCTION GROUP CHARLOTTE, NC Coordinate and execute asset delivery to content distribution partners and assist with ideation and execution of marketing campaigns with channel partners as well as capture, analyze, and report viewership data. You will also follow and report on industry trends and create weekly programming schedules […]

Cynopsis 07/17/24: Apple TV+ renews “Loot” for season three

Apple TV+ renews "Loot" for season three

Wednesday July 17, 2024 Today’s Premieres BritBox: 24 Hours in Police Custody CBS: Big Brother at 8p Hulu: UnPrisoned Netflix: Simone Biles: Rising; The Green Gang; T P Bon Syfy: The Ark at 10p IN THE NEWS Global entertainment & media industry revenues rose 5% to $2.8 trillion in 2023, and are projected to hit […]