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The Greatest Guest Star Moms in TV History

Updated May 31, 2019 3.2k votes 184 voters 3.0k views43 items

List RulesRecurring or guest star TV mothers of main characters, though they are not part of the primary cast.

List of the greatest guest star moms in TV history, recurring or one-time appearances. Whether from past or current shows, these TV mom guest stars show up and do what mothers do best, from the good to the bad -- comfort, advise, gossip, intimidate, or dish out guilt. This list of guest star television moms includes those from TV shows of all genres.

 Some guest star TV moms are loving and kind. Remember Pam’s mom from “The Office”? Although the character of Helene Beesly was played by two different actresses (Shannon Cochran and Linda Purl), Helene’s character was always portrayed as the kind of mother anyone would want -- attentive, friendly, and caring. Other guest star TV moms aim for caring and loving but end up annoying and (thankfully for viewers) funny. Remember how much Mrs. Seinfeld exasperated Jerry?

 A handful of TV guest star mothers seem determined to make life more difficult for their sons or daughters. Ida, Lois’s mom from “Malcolm in the Middle,” was fractious, cranky, and angry -- often leading to the family attempting to hide when she showed up. And, of course, there are the mothers who seem determined to do as little mothering as possible, including Mac’s mom from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

 This list showcases the best TV guest star moms in television history. They’re played by major stars (like Jamie Lee Curtis portraying Jess Day’s mother on “New Girl”) and lesser known actresses, but viewers tune in to love ‘em and hate ‘em. Vote your favorites up.
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  • Sandra Green1
    102
    23
    Mother of Rachel Green
  • Estelle Costanza2
    102
    28
    Mother of George Costanza
  • Beverly Harris3
    95
    27

    Beverly Harris

    Roseanne
    Mother of Roseanne and Jackie
  • Judy Geller4
    100
    30

    Judy Geller

    Friends
  • Helen Seinfeld5
    84
    30
    Mother of Jerry Seinfeld
  • Marilyn Truman6
    77
    26

    Marilyn Truman

    Will & Grace
    Mother of Will Truman
  • Joan Day7
    77
    27

    Joan Day

    New Girl
    Mother of Jess Day
  • Bernice Forman8
    73
    24

    Bernice Forman

    That '70s Show
    Mother of Red Forman
  • Mary Cooper9
    64
    17
    Mother of Sheldon Cooper
  • Bobbi Adler10
    71
    27

    Bobbi Adler

    Will & Grace
    Mother of Grace Adler
  • Loretta Stinson11
    65
    25

    Loretta Stinson

    How I Met Your Mother
    Mother of Barney Stinson
  • Mrs. Kim12
    69
    34

    Mrs. Kim

    Gilmore Girls
    Mother of Lane Kim
  • Vy Smith13
    58
    24

    Vy Smith

    Fresh Prince of Bel Air

    Mother of Will Smith

  • Nora Tyler Bing14
    55
    22
    Mother of Chandler Bing
  • Virginia Mosby15
    58
    25

    Virginia Mosby

    How I Met Your Mother
    Mother of Ted Mosby
  • Ida Kenzel16
    55
    23

    Ida Kenzel

    Malcolm in the Middle
    Mother of Lois
  • Beverly Hofstadter17
    53
    22

    Beverly Hofstadter

    The Big Bang Theory
    Mother of Leonard Hofstadter
  • Anna Huxtable18
    53
    25

    Anna Huxtable

    The Cosby Show
    Mother of Cliff Huxtable
  • Christine Brennan19
    55
    27

    Christine Brennan

    Bones
    Mother of Temperance Brennan
  • Bea Sigurdson20
    47
    23

    Bea Sigurdson

    That '70s Show
    Mother of Kitty Forman
  • Janet Heffernan21
    51
    27

    Janet Heffernan

    The King of Queens
    Mother of Doug Heffernan
  • Hester Crane22
    48
    25
    Mother of Niles and Frasier Crane
  • Colleen Donaghy23
    50
    30
    Mother of Jack Donaghy
  • Esther Clavin24
    40
    26

    Esther Clavin

    Cheers
    Mother of Cliff Clavin
  • Joyce Summers25
    34
    27

    Joyce Summers

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    Mother of Buffy Summers