Greetings Manic Fans. Les here to talk a little bit about those great old ladies in tv shows. You know, those characters who habitually steal any scene they’re in and give us hope that someday we will be as awesome as they are when we get to be that old. Some of them are funny. Some of them are dramatic. Some of them are just plain bad-assed. However, all of them are memorable. And so, here’s my Top 12 Favorite Old Ladies in TV Shows.


Warning: Some Spoilers and great old ladies ahead…


12. Mrs. Dubcek(Elmarie Wendel3rd Rock from the Sun)


An eccentric human landlord for the alien Solomon Family, Mrs. Dubcek has a personality just as off-kilter and kooky as her tenants. Basically a “Party Mama” from the ‘60s who danced naked with Jack Kerouac in a cage, she ends up being the Stepmom of the Big Giant Head(William Shatner). ‘Nuff said LOL!


11. Fay Cochrane(Rebecca Schull-Wings)


Retired Airline Hostess, Fay ran the front desk of San Piper Air and made the flight announcements. She had many great quirks and usually got in a great comment much like Carla(Rhea Pearlman) did on “Cheers.”


10. Granny Smith(Tabitha St. Germaine-MLP: FIM)


I gotta give props to the eldest member of the Apple Family. She’s spunky and spirited(when she’s not asleep), and easily the most interesting Apple in any scene she’s in. She frequently makes any Applejack-Central episode better and worth watching.


9. Ruth Anne Miller(Peg Phillips-Northern Exposure)


The owner of the trading post/grocery in Sicily, Alaska, Ruth Anne is a very down to Earth lady with a warm and friendly personality, gift of gab and love of gossip and town news. She has strong opinions and speaks her mind whenever she has something to say. And in this town, it’s an important quality too LOL!


8. Wanda(Helen Martin-Good Times)


While she played a similar character on “227,” I’m using Wanda to demonstrate the talent of Helen Martin. Wanda was a spinster living alone in the apartment building who everyone loved and she mixed it up with everyone. My favorite quote from her? “I’m too old to marry, and too young to bury.” LOL!


7. Granny Clampett(Irene Dunn-The Beverly Hillbillies)


And here’s another great “Granny.” One of the earliest television old ladies, Granny set the standard for crotchety old ladies, frequently miscomprehending what was going on, using her own home-made brand of Lye Soap to do the laundry in the swimming pool, making genuine Moonshine and brandishing a shotgun against trespassers and no gooders made for an entertaining show.


6. Granny/Widow Lucas(Beverly Elliott-Once Upon a Time)


And, would you believe it? Another great “Granny.” Whether she’s raising “Little” Red Riding Hood in the Enchanted Forrest, or running the town diner in Storybrooke, Granny can hold her own against anyone. Having a crossbow probably doesn’t hurt and the vestiges of the Werewolf Bane still in her system makes her an expert tracker. Plus, she makes a mean lasagna.


5. Mama Thelma Harper(Vicki Lawrence-Mama’s Family)


Vicki Lawrence used a wig and glasses to transform into a character decades older than she actually was. A spinoff character from the Carol Burnett Show, Mama Thelma was a down-home southern spitfire of an old gal who had a big mouth, a big temper and a family she ruled over.


4. Sophia(Estelle Getty-The Golden Girls)


Ironically, the oldest character of this wonderful show, actress Estelle Getty was actually the youngest actress in the cast LOL! Like Vicki Lawrence, she used a wig and tri-focal glasses to transform into a one-lining 90 year old Sicilian who never missed a chance to bring a hilarious punchline whenever anyone set themselves up for one…which was frequently.


3. Angela Channing(Jane Wyman-Falcon Crest)


Here’s an elderly lady who has grace, dignity, and one of the sharpest and most devious minds ever used to craft a plot to destroy someone. A contemporary of J.R. Ewing(Larry Hagman) from Dallas, Angela Channing was the matriarch of the Falcon Crest Winery in California. Each week, she’d stay 2 steps ahead of her foes and 3 steps ahead of her family.


2. Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham(Maggie Smith-Downton Abbey)


A member of the elite, you would think you’d despise this snobbish upper-crust matriarch….but you can’t help but love her for the wonderful performance of Dame Maggie Smith. When she utters “What’s a weekend?” it’s not portrayed as “elitist” but genuine puzzlement, and it’s gloriously funny.


And my #1 favorite old lady in a television show is…


1. Selma(Selma Diamond-Night Court)


The first Bailiff seen in Judge Harry’s(Harry Anderson) courtroom, Selma was sarcastic, sardonic and sharp as a tack. Amplified by that wonderful croaking voice, Selma provided some of the best one liners ever heard in a sitcom. While her successor, Florence Halop, did a very good job after Selma passed away, I always have a softer spot in my heart for the original. Besides, she really played off Bull(Richard Moll) well.


And that’s my top 12 favorite old ladies in television shows. Did I miss any of yours? I’d love to hear who you loved, my friends. Peace.

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