Some are angels, some are monsters, but they all have one thing in common: somebody calls them “mother.” In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s a countdown of the 10 Most Memorable Mothers in Tams-Witmark Shows!
10. Mammy Yokum from LI’L ABNER
Memorable quote: “I does the preferrin’ around here… and what I prefers, you concurs!”
9. Anna Smith from MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS
Described as “a good and loving mother,” Mrs. Smith may be the most decent person on our list. As head of a wholesome turn-of-the-century suburban family, Anna brings warmth, humor, and love to the entire household as the Smith family prepares for the glorious World’s Fair.
Memorable quote: “It’s difficult to fall in love sensibly.”
8. Lottie Child from CRAZY FOR YOU
This New York society matron is determined to marry off her son—to any wealthy girl other than his controlling fiancée, Irene. But cosmopolitan Lottie winds up finding her own romance with a homespun property owner in Deadrock, Nevada.
IRENE: When [Bobby’s] married to me, he won’t need an allowance.
LOTTIE: No, he’ll need a psychiatrist.
7. Millicent Winter from NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT
Like Lottie Childs, Millicent Winter appears to be a respectable if opinionated society dame who disapproves of her son’s choices in love. But as it turns out, she’s one tough dame with a big secret: During Prohibition, this mother has just the right spirits to maintain her social standing.
Memorable quote (to her son’s wife, a dancer): “I saw you on stage once. I wasn’t sure if you were dancing or having a seizure.”
6. The Mother Superior (Sister Mary Regina) from the NUNSENSE series, including NUNCRACKERS
Though she’s Reverend Mother to the Little Sisters of Hoboken, Sister Mary Regina actually grew up in a circus family. She may attempt to appear stern and imperious, but the Reverend Mother’s show biz pizzazz and playful sense of humor always shine through.
Memorable quote: “Good Lord, deliver me. There may not be a lot to drink at this party, but we’ve certainly got a lot of mixed nuts.”
5. Doris MacAfee from BYE BYE BIRDIE
The picture of 1950s suburban maternity, Doris MacAfee typifies the wholesome American ideal, right alongside apple pie and Sammy Kaye. This humble homemaker is patient, crafty, decent, and understanding… and she has a bit of a crush on Conrad Birdie.
Memorable quote: “Yesterday I was a mother. Today I’m a pal.”
4. Mrs. Brice from FUNNY GIRL
A down-to-earth immigrant on New York’s Lower East Side, Fanny Brice’s mother is no Park Avenue socialite. But she’s a real gem: hardworking, frank, and just a bit playful. Sensible and grounded, Mrs. Brice is the perfect balance to her flighty daughter Fanny.
Memorable quote (about the playboy Nicky Arnstein): “Gorgeous. He reminds me of Fanny’s papa, my ex… also gorgeous. And wherever he is, he should only stay there.”
3. Mame Dennis from MAME
She’s irreverent, she’s outrageous… she’s your Auntie Mame! Okay, Mame Dennis is not technically Patrick’s mother, but this eccentric and adventurous New York socialite discovers her maternal side and embraces it with all the passion and fervor she can muster. The ultimate single mother, Mame Dennis earns an exalted place on our list of great moms.
Memorable quote: “Life’s a banquet. And most poor sons-of-b****es are starving to death!”
2. Mae Peterson from BYE BYE BIRDIE
Is there any mother more intrusive, more guilt-inducing, more melodramatic than Mae? Meek Albert Peterson’s domineering mother is the ultimate meddling mom… she’ll stop at nothing to make her son miserable. Undoubtedly the worst mother on our list, she is nonetheless the #2 most memorable.
Memorable quote, after Albert tells her he loves Rosie:
“By the way, dear, when you get back be sure to stop in the kitchen, take my head out of the oven, and turn off the gas… I don’t want to run up a bill.”
1. “Mama” Rose from GYPSY
Mama’s talkin’ loud, Mama’s doin’ fine. Brassy, outspoken, and ruthlessly ambitious, Rose will stop at nothing to launch her children into stardom. Obsessed with fame and material success, this “Mama” is hardly maternal, but there’s no doubt she’s the mother of them all.
Memorable quote: “You can do it… Mama is gonna see to it!”
Happy Mother’s Day from Tams-Witmark!