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As women were developing roles outside the home for the first time, TV moms also began playing characters that were relatable to real-life moms. Mary Tyler Moore became America's favorite working woman—30, single and living on her own—on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. As laws changed the racial dynamics of the country, Esther Rolle portrayed the hard-working matriarch of an urban black family on Good Times. Some even chose to remarry like Bea Arthur in Maude...who was on her fourth husband.
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We wouldn't be here without our moms...and TV wouldn't be the same without them, either. Providing good advice, as well as big laughs, the TV mom has been the anchor of the small-screen family for generations. In the 1950s, Barbara Billingsley played the quintessential stay-at-home mom on Leave it to Beaver, while Roseanne Barr showed America how to be a working mother of the 90s on her sitcom, Roseanne.
During more than 60 years of broadcasts, TV moms have served as a mirror of the times they were in, showing homes across America what it was like to enter the workforce, take charge of the blended family, and triumph over the struggles of single motherhood. Biography.com presents TV's most famous moms, from the 1950s to the 21st century, and explores the lives of the actresses who played them.
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Larry Bird and Magic Johnson
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