When a friend invited me to guest host on her radio show and discuss the great mothers of TV, in my mind a fierce battle erupted between the leading ladies of television and the grand mothers of film. Place your bets, anyone? Roseanne versus Mo’Nique from Precious? For every television mother I chose as a potential topic of discussion, at least five from the silver screen appeared in my head, each one drowning me in guilt as only a movie mother can for not mentioning her. On this Mother’s Day we offer a bit of advice, a few pearls of wisdom, and perhaps gardening tips for your rose gardens from the most beloved mothers (and a few mother figures) of film.


10) Mrs. Flax – Mermaids (1990), played by Cher

“Charlotte, I know you’re planning a celibate life, but with half my chromosomes, I think that might be tough.”




9) Carolyn Burnham – American Beauty (1999), played by Annette Bening

“Honey, I’m so proud of you. You know, I watched you very closely; you didn’t screw up once!”




8) Joan Crawford – Mommie Dearest (1981), played by Faye Dunaway

“When I told you to call me that, I wanted you to mean it.”



7) Mame Dennis – Auntie Mame (1958), played by Rosalind Russell

“A divine man, such talented fingers . . . oh, what he did to my bust. That’s the head, you know.”



6) Mildred Pierce – Mildred Pierce (1945), played by Joan Crawford

“I never used to drink at all . . . just a little habit I picked up from men.”




5) Regina Giddens – The Little Foxes (1941), played by Bette Davis

“Why, Alexandra! You have spirit after all. I used to think you were all sugar water.”




4) Rose Castorini – Moonstruck (1987), played by Olympia Dukakis

“When you love ‘em, they drive you crazy, ‘cause they know they can.”




3) Mrs. Robinson – The Graduate (1967), played by Anne Bancroft

“I’m getting pretty tired of all this suspicion. Now if you won’t do me a simple favor, I don’t know what!”




2) Eleanor of Aquitaine – The Lion in Winter (1968), played by Katharine Hepburn

“Henry, I have a confession . . . I don’t much like our children.”




1) Mrs. Bates – Psycho (1960)

She had no lines – more often than not, mothers gave us only a single look that could communicate their feelings of love and devotion. Either that, or “watch it, Buster; the ice under your feet is beginning to crack.”



When you love her, she drives you crazy, ‘cause she knows she can. Thanks for everything, Mom . . . Happy Mother’s Day!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Still wonderful.


  2. Anonymous says:

    As your mother, I love your choices and want to state I do not in any way resemble any of those women, except perhaps Calvin’s mother! Thanks for the tribute, I feel very lucky to be your mother.


  3. Anonymous says:

    Loved your choices and the photos, makes us ordinary moms feel pretty special.


  4. Loved these!! Perfect ending to my Mother’s Day!


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