1) “Clair Huxtable” in The Cosby Show
Phylicia Rashad’s most memorable on-screen role as a mother was in the long running NBC sitcom The Cosby Show. Her character Clair Huxtable will always be remembered as the working mother that was strong, opinionated,
unapologetic and compassionate.
2) “Claudine” and “Julia”
Diahann Carroll played the role of Claudine in the 1974 film of the same name about single black mother living on welfare with six children in Harlem, New York. Carroll’s role in NBC’s sitcom Julia was groundbreaking as she played a widowed mother working as a nurse in a doctor’s office during the late 1960’s.
3) “Carolyn Carmichael” in Crooklyn
Alfre Woodard starred in the 1994 Spike Lee semi-autobiographical film Crooklyn. Woodard’s character Carolyn Carmichael is a loving but strict mother raising 5 children during the summer of 1970 in Brooklyn, New York.
4) “Katherine Jackson” in The Jacksons: An American Dream
Angela Bassett brought the role of Katherine Jackson to life. In this miniseries Bassett portrays Jackson as the family matriarch, dealing with the consequences of fame which her young Hollywood family would endure.
5) “Vivian Banks” in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Janet Hubert is best known for her role as the Vivian Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. From 1990 to 1993 Hubert played the headstrong mother to the Banks children and sympathetic Aunt to Will Smith’s character.
6) “Rebecca Morgan” in Sounder
Cicely Tyson starred as Rebecca Morgan in the 1972 film Sounder. Tyson plays the role of a poor yet dignified mother in 1930’s Louisiana. Tyson was nominated for an Academy Award for her critically acclaimed role in the film.
7) “Florida Evans” in Good Times
The late actress Esther Rolle will be remembered for her portrayal of Florida Evans on the hit CBS sitcom Maude and its long-running spin-off series Good Times. Rolle played the character of the hard-working wife and mother of the Evans family.
8) “Annie Johnson” in Imitation of Life
Juanita Moore played the role of Annie Johnson in the 1959 film Imitation of Life. Moore portrayed a black widow and mother working as a housekeeper and nanny. For her role in the film Moore was nominated for a best supporting actress Academy Award.
9) “Mama Lucas” in American Gangster
Ruby Dee starred as Mama Lucas in the 2007 film American Gangster. In the movie Mama Lucas is portrayed as a strong minded mother with conviction and passion for her son’s personal choices. Dee was nominated for a 2007 Academy Award for best supporting actress.
10) “Rochelle” in Everybody Hates Chris
Tichina Arnold played the role of Rochelle, the mother on the sitcom Everybody Hates Chris from 2005 until 2009 when the show ended. On the show Arnold portrayed a working-class wife and mother of two in Brooklyn, New York during the 1980s.
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The beautiful and talented Phylicia Rashād, best known to audiences around the world as the ideal TV mom Clair Huxtable on the classic sitcom The Cosby Show, turns 64 today. To celebrate her special day and considerable legacy. theGrio is paying homage to our favorite fictional mothers.
Looking back on memorable films and television shows, there are several characters that stand out as unforgettable mothers. Here are our picks for the top 10 moms we wish we had.