Let's Hear It For Mean Moms

Tony Soprano and his mom Livia CBS

Sunday Morning contributor Barbara Lippert wants to forget about all the nice things we usually hear about mothers and remember some of film and TV's most evil moms.


Mother's Day. Candy, flowers ... murder? Today we're going to pay our respects to the Rogue's Gallery of terrible mothers.

After all, who would you rather watch: June Cleaver or Livia Soprano? As fans know, plotting her son's murder was payback for getting shelved in a nursing home.

David Chase, "The Sopranos"'s creator, has said that both Livia, the hideous anti-mom, and her son, Tony, the seriously macho mob boss, are actually based on his mother. But this isn't as crazy as it sounds.

Mario Puzo, author of "The Godfather," the novel that launched the greatest series of Mafia movies ever, says parts of Don Vito Corleone were modeled on his mom.

After all, it's tough to run a family, just ask any mobster — or mother.

And who could forget Norman Bates? In the aptly named "Psycho," he becomes his mother.

And what about Angela Lansberry in "The Manchurian Candidate?" She is the ultimate political schemer, taking character assassination to a whole new level.

But for many of us, the queen of maternal craziness will always be "Mommy Dearest." We love Joan Crawford's movies, but the screen siren may be best remembered for her desperate parental scorn.

So here's to the Anti-Mother, the monsters we love to hate. Not only are they a piece of work, but, in the right hands, they're works of art.
  • Caitlin Johnson

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