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July 24, 2014

TV's Greatest Women: 25-1

by Kim Potts, posted Mar 2nd 2011 12:00PM
Now, meet the top 25 female TV characters of all time ...

Most Memorable TV Women No. 10076 | 7551 | 5026 | 251


Xena Warrior Princess25. Xena
'Xena: Warrior Princess' (1995-2001)
| Played By: Lucy Lawless
Her tight leather dress was only the beginning of Xena's tough-chick persona, as she sought to redeem herself for her past as a warlord by doing good deeds with her considerable skills, which had once almost allowed her to kill Hercules!

Marge Simpson, The Simpsons24. Marge Simpson
'The Simpsons' (1989-present) | Played By: Julie Kavner
Right down to the string of pearls, she's the modern-day June Cleaver, if June had been animated with big blue hair, a clueless husband and three challenging children. But mama Marge will defend her brood to the end. As she said, "If loving my kids is lame, then I guess I'm just a big lame."

Rachel Green, Friends23. Rachel Green
'Friends' (1994-2004) | Played By:
Jennifer Aniston
Sure, there's the iconic haircut, but Rachel became one of viewers' favorite 'Friends' because she grew from what could have been a one-note character -- the spoiled, self-involved husband-seeker -- into a more independent, caring pal who left her cushy lifestyle behind and took a chance on finding career and relationship happiness in the Big Apple.

Christine Cagney, Cagney and Lacey22. Christine Cagney
'Cagney & Lacey' (1981-88) | Played By:
Sharon Gless
Cagney was the single career-woman half of the team and the daughter of an NYPD vet who had inspired her to become a crime-fighter with tales of his own adventures. Unfortunately, Christine also followed in her father's footsteps as an alcoholic, just one of the many problems the witty, working-class cop and her partner/BFF Lacey tackled together.

Lt. Uhura, Star Trek21. Nyota Uhura
'Star Trek' (1966-69) | Played By:
Nichelle Nichols
Captain Kirk's chief communications officer, Uhura was a TV role model, with future Oscar winner (and 'Star Trek' star herself) Whoopi Goldberg recalling that she made an impression on her as one of the first black female characters on TV who wasn't a maid. Uhura was also involved in a groundbreaking moment on the show, as she and Kirk kissed in the 'Plato's Stepchildren' episode, one of the first interracial smooches on the tube.

Maude20. Maude Findlay
'Maude' (1972-78) | Played By:
Bea Arthur
And then there's Maude! The feisty, big-mouthed liberal was Edith Bunker's cousin, hence the 'All in the Family' spin-off. And like her cousin-in-law Archie, Maude made her own mark in prime time, letting everyone know about her opinions on civil rights and women's rights. In one controversial episode, she had an abortion -- before Roe v. Wade made the process legal.

Alicia Florrick The Good Wife19. Alicia Florrick
'The Good Wife' (2009-present
) | Played By: Julianna Margulies
The numerous cheating-politician scandals of recent years always left us wondering how the politicians' wives deal with their public humiliation. And we can only hope that it's with even half the grace of Alicia, who resumed her career (starting at the bottom rung as an attorney) and continues to try to resume her marriage for the sake of her family.

Rose Nylund Golden Girls18. Rose Nylund
'The Golden Girls' (1985-92) | Played By:
Betty White
A little naïve and a bit ditzy, Rose was also a lot kind-hearted, which made her the most lovable of the 'Golden Girls.' And that was a good thing, because her friends sometimes needed a lot of patience to sit through her charming -- to viewers, anyway -- tales of St. Olaf.

Tami Taylor Friday Night Lights17. Tami Taylor
'Friday Night Lights' (2006-2011) | Played By: Connie Britton
Her husband was clearly in charge on the football field, but Tami is the one who kept things running smoothly in the Taylor household. The voice of reason for Coach Eric when his job / his players / local fans were all up in his Kool-Aid, Tami was also a great mom whose genuine kindness and caring also made her a top-notch school administrator.

Joan Harris, Mad Men16. Joan Harris
'Mad Men' (2007-present) | Played By: Christina Hendricks
She hasn't advanced in her career as far as co-worker Peggy, but Joan is the one person in the office who always knows what's going on -- what's really going on -- with everyone. In another time, the savvy secretary would be running the company, but for now, she'll continue to be the sassy Marilyn Monroe–ish sexpot who's neither full-on career girl nor demure housewife.

CJ Cregg West Wing15. C.J. Cregg
'The West Wing' (1999-2006) | Played By: Allison Janney
The tough, funny and talented White House press secretary not only served two terms for President Bartlet, but moved up to become White House Chief of Staff and one of the most trusted members of the administration.

Liz Lemon 30 Rock14. Liz Lemon
'30 Rock' (2006-present) | Played By: Tina Fey
She's the heroine of every bespectacled, sweats-wearing, junk-food-noshing, boy-chasing, pop-culture-loving, smart-girl nerd everywhere.

Dana Scully X Files13. Dana Scully
'The X-Files' (1993-2002) | Played By: Gillian Anderson
A woman of science who was recruited by the FBI when she was in med school, Scully wouldn't buy into partner Mulder's beliefs unless she could prove them. But her affection for and trust in him, and his season 7 abduction, led the brainy beauty to see she could mesh their two points of view.

Murphy Brown12. Murphy Brown
'Murphy Brown' (1988-98) | Played By: Candice Bergen
The recovering-alcoholic TV newswoman was such an influential character that her single motherhood on TV sparked a real-world scandal when then–Vice President Dan Quayle cited her as a threat to family values during a 1992 presidential campaign speech.

Roseanne11. Roseanne Conner
'Roseanne' (1988-97) | Played By: Roseanne Barr
She was loud, bossy and insulting, and no topic was too serious for her irreverent 'tude, but self-proclaimed domestic goddess Roseanne was also a fierce mama lion who never stopped wanting more for her friends and family and never shied away from working hard to get it.

Edith Bunker All in the Family10. Edith Bunker
'All in the Family' (1971-79) | Played By: Jean Stapleton
The incredibly kind, compassionate and non-judgmental foil to bigoted spouse Archie, Edith could have been a cartoonish character, but she loved her friends and family -- even the sometimes hard-to-love Archie -- unconditionally and was a far shrewder woman than Archie's "dingbat" nickname for her might have suggested.

Claire Huxtable The Cosby Show9. Claire Huxtable
'The Cosby Show' (1984-92) | Played By: Phylicia Rashad
She could bring home the bacon as a talented attorney and fry it up in a pan, all while raising five kids ... six, if you include mischievous husband Cliff. Firm but fair, tough but sensitive and caring, she was one of TV's all-time-coolest moms.

Veronica Mars8. Veronica Mars
'Veronica Mars' (2004-07) | Played By: Kristen Bell
After being dropped by her rich friends and raped at a party, former popular high schooler Veronica learned becoming awesome was the best revenge, using her new cynicism and sleuthing skills to become first an amateur investigator and, eventually, a licensed P.I., forging relationships with equally awesome new pals along the way.

Carmela Soprano, The Sopranos7. Carmela Soprano
'The Sopranos' (1999-2007) | Played By: Edie Falco
She was a complicated, but always strong, fiercely loyal and compelling woman, who alternately loved and hated her hubby Tony and could never fully resolve her guilt over enjoying the fruits of their ill-gotten lifestyle.

Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer6. Buffy Summers
'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (1997-2003) | Played By: Sarah Michelle Gellar
She managed to reliably kick baddie butt even while dealing with the usual (and sometimes extraordinarily heartbreaking) ups and downs of life, love and being a teen and 20-something.

Elaine Benes Seinfeld5. Elaine Benes
'Seinfeld' (1990-98) | Played By: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
From her biting quips to her famous "Get out!" shoves, Elaine always let her male cohorts -- Jerry, Kramer and George -- know that she was the one with the hand in the group.

Peggy Olson Mad Men4. Peggy Olson
'Mad Men' (2007-present) | Played By: Elisabeth Moss
Refusing to be relegated to the background in an incredibly sexist, male-dominated industry, ad wiz Peggy continues to fight for power in the office and independence in her swingin', single-girl personal life.

Lucy Ricardo, I Love Lucy3. Lucy Ricardo
'I Love Lucy' (1951-60) | Played By: Lucille Ball
The meddling redhead couldn't stay out of trouble, but it was only because she wouldn't let anyone, even beloved hubby Ricky or BFF Ethel, keep her in the kitchen and out of the spotlight she craved to be in.

Laura Roslin Battlestar Galactica2. Laura Roslin
'Battlestar Galactica' (2004-09) | Played By: Mary McDonnell
She was a politician thrust into the role of president just after most of humanity had been killed off, and through some major bumps (and a battle with breast cancer), she helped lead the survivors to a new home.

Mary Richards Mary Tyler Moore Show1. Mary Richards
'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' (1970-77) | Played By: Mary Tyler Moore
Duh, she could turn the world on with her smile. And she inspired whole generations of her fellow working girls to go for it all: friendships, love and a successful career.




Did your favorites make our list? Who did we snub?
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814 Comments

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mrkrlnd

as well as Renee Taylor, Ann Morgan Guilbert and Lucille Ball

May 23 2014 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mrkrlnd

you forgot Fran Drescher and Lauren Lane from the sitcom The Nanny

May 23 2014 at 11:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Amber Epling

You left our the greatest of them all, Irina Derevko from Alias. Played by Lena Olin

April 07 2014 at 11:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mafalda cleveland

yyou forgot the charmed ones (like so many other great characters), and there are also some characters listed, which or who just didn'nt belong here. but good work anyway, must be a time-eating work to enlist 100 tv-female characters from all kinds of genres and decades. (would be better youve done only series fron the last 10 or 15, at least 20) years! cause not everyone in here remembers the crap screened in the 1950's or in the 1980's. but good work, anyway!

February 22 2014 at 11:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BeverlynMoon@aol

contact my agent dwanabain@aol.com.

October 19 2013 at 5:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
liveonce21

What the heck!! Where is Emily Deschanel??? She should be on here too for playing Temperance Brennan on the show Bones. Half of these women do not compare with Bones. How terrible!

July 28 2013 at 4:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jennifer

Laura Roslin is my fav! At first I was nervous that she didn't make the list and then I saw she was listed as number 2! She was awesome! The only other person I wish would have made the list was Captain Kathryn Janeway...the first female Captain in Star Trek should count for something.

May 06 2013 at 2:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ttadmer

None of the actresses from Charmed (which held the record for the longest running show with female leads for 4 years) are on here? Kind of sad.

November 24 2012 at 7:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BETA

???
Laura Spencer, Erica Kane, The Nanny, The Flying Nun, Hazel, Mama (Mother Harper), Cat Woman, Julia Sugarbaker (Southern icon), Ellen (she made tv history), Lisa Simpson, La Femme Nikita, Ginger and Marianne, Wednesday Adams, Lily Munster, Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble, Aunt Bea, Jessica Fletcher (Murder She Wrote), Gabrielle, (just as popular as Xena)
British American TV - Mrs Emma Peel - The Avengers, Eddie Monsoon and Patsy Stone of Absolutely Fabulous, Hyacinth Bucket - Keeping Up Appearances, The Reverend Boadicea Geraldine Granger - The Vicar of Dibley, Mrs. Slocombe- Are You Being Served?

You might not agree with them all but come on! The Nanny? Cat Woman? Wilma and Betty? Emma Peel?
I am simply miffed.

October 02 2012 at 9:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
BETA

Look, there's 8 ladies on the first 25 that have no business whatsoever being there.
Brand new shows with a single audience -- no time-tested popularity, certainly no iconic character --- and I even kept Tina Fey, at LEAST she's more well known.
Laura Roslin in 'Battlestar Galactica' ? You MUST be joking. Lovely lady, lovely actress but she wasn't even a well liked character on the show when it was on - how the hell did she suddenly become the 2nd most iconic character?? All the main female characters were MUCH more popular, including Lucy Lawless as #3, than her.
The Good Wife, Friday Night Lights, Mad Men, Veronica Mars ??? Most people have never even seen these shows.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer hasn't been on in almost 10 yrs and even the POPE knows who she is --- Laura Roslin?

Just goes to show you how worthless and whopsided this surveys are.

October 02 2012 at 8:32 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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