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September 3, 2015

Happy Grandparents Day 2010: Our Favorite TV Grandmothers and Grandfathers

by Chris Jordan, posted Sep 12th 2010 2:30PM
Frankly, the TV world hasn't been very kind to grandparents. Depictions have ranged from the cranky to overly eccentric -- there aren't too many grandpops taking the kids to the local fishin' hole. Think of Irene Ryan's Granny from 'The Beverly Hillbillies' and you get our drift.

Still, even if they are a bit ornery or kooky, we still love our grandparents. Since today's National Grandparents Day, we decided to celebrate by naming a few of our favorite grandfolks from television over the years. We hope you love them too.

Grandpa Munster, 'The Munsters'-- Al Lewis' Grandpa fired off one-liners on 'The Munsters' with the timing of a Borscht Belt comic. Sometimes his schemes would lead Herman astray, but you have to admit that thanks to Grandpa Al, things were always lively at 1313 Mockingbird Lane.

Emily Gilmore, 'The Gilmore Girls' -- Sure, Grandma Gilmore could be a little snotty, and there was no mistaking she was a woman of means. But there was also no mistaking her love for daughter Lorelai and granddaughter Rory. We loved Kelly Bishop's portrayal of Emily Gilmore, a classic old-money matriarch, and she couldn't have been paired with anyone better than the always-able Edward Herrmann, who played Richard Gilmore, Lorelai's dad and Rory's grandfather.

Russell and Anna Huxtable, 'The Cosby Show' -- The perfect TV family needed the perfect TV grandparents, and Russell and Anna, as portrayed by Earle Hyman and Clarice Taylor, were the model of grandparenting. Watch the kids? No problem. Offer sage fatherly advice? Will do. Cook up veal in a bing cherry sauce? Grandma's on it.

Frank and Marie Barone, 'Everybody Loves Raymond'-- These two were constantly at each other's throats like a TV version of the Lockhorns comic come to life. But beneath the bluster, one got a sense of a real affection. Attribute that to the superb acting of Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle.

Grampa Simpson, 'The Simpsons'-- A classic crazy old grandfather here, spouting plenty of historical non-sequiturs and other sundry rants. On a show filled with absurdist humor, Grandpa Simpson pretty much takes the weirdo cake. Whether he can eat the cake is another story.

George Bluth Sr., 'Arrested Development' -- Here comes another wacky grandfather, and this one is off the charts. Sure, the elder Bluth's ambition landed him in jail, but we like to think that working on his defense brought the family closer together. Pop-Pop had his quirks, but he was family, after all. Loved those one liners and crazy talk from Jeffrey Tambor, who played Bluth Sr. Mom Bluth (Jessica Walter) is a piece of work, too.

Dorothy Zbornak, 'Golden Girls'-- Dorothy is not exactly the grandmotherly type and that's exactly why we chose her. She's a zesty and forthright mature gal who happens to be a grandmother, and one of TV's rare leading characters who has grandkids.

Maude Frickert -- This character, played by comic Jonathan Winters,' certainly looked like a Norman Rockwell depiction of a gentle old grandmother with gray hair and spinster's dress. But once she opened her mouth -- watch out. The wacky comedian paid dozens of visits during the '60s and '70s to shows like 'The Tonight Show' with both Jack Paar and Johnny Carson and 'The Dean Martin Show.' Hilarity ensued. Though we're not certain she was an actual grandmother, she did have three husbands and a rather strong libido, so we're making an educated guess that she was.

Maude Frickert on 'The Dean Martin Show'

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Mona, from "Who's The Boss?," was a cool grandmother.

September 13 2010 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No Robert Freeman love?

September 13 2010 at 12:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Picviewer's comment
Chris Jordan


We'll do it here -- thanks for the add!


September 13 2010 at 2:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As strange as it seem, Bree of Desperate Housewives is also a young grandmother, one of the few lead character in today's TV who has this particular honor. The others I can think of are Gleen Close in Damages, and she is only a grandma since last season; and, of course, Ed O'neill and Sofia Vergara in Modern Family. I cant forget Ruth Fisher, who ends up Six Feet Under having multiple grandsons

In the British TV we also have Frank Gallagher in Shameless.

September 12 2010 at 5:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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