Okay. Okay. By popular request, I will provide some background info on those Mom’s I talked about yesterday. Apparently some of those rhetorical questions stumped a few of you!
Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show is currently a spokesperson for Jenny Craig and can be seen nightly on our TV sets showing off her new slimmer figure. She currently directs live theater productions. **Interesting note: In 2004, an Opinion Research Corp. poll named her “The TV mom closest to your own mom in spirit.” She and Cliff Huxtable were raising five children on that show: Sondra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa, and Rudy. Interestingly all are still acting. “Sondra” is in a 2009 movie “The Stalker Within.” She owns her own interior design business and is active in live theater. “Denise” currently is seen in “Life on Mars.” “Theo” is currently doing some acting, performs with his jazz/funk band Miles Long and won "Celebrity Poker Showdown" in 2003. “Vanessa” can be seen in “The Replacements” and also has two movies in post-production at this time. “Rudy,” who was only 5 when The Cosby Show started, graduated from Spelman College in 2001 and has been seen in House of Payne and in the movie Madea Goes to Jail.
I guess their kids turned out pretty good. Just proves love, lots of humor and two really healthy incomes can give kids a great start in life!!
It wasn’t easy for June Cleaver to clean house and cook in those nice, freshly pressed dresses, pumps and pearls, let alone look after two rambunctious boys! Now 93, she is still acting. She appeared in an episode My Name is Earl in 2007. On Leave It to Beaver, she and Ward used gentle guidance and words of wisdom to raise Wally and Theodore (“The Beave”). Wally is now 64 and creates sculptures, mostly working in bronze. “Beaver,” believe it or not, will turn 60 in June! He keeps busy doing live theater on Broadway these days.
Okay, humor and wise anecdotes raise good kids.
She died of natural causes at the age of 96 in 2006. **Interesting note: Also known for her portrayal of Spock's human mother on Star Trek. Margaret Anderson on Father Knows Best, she helped husband, Jim, raise their three children, Bud, Betty and Kathy. Betty (Princess), now 72, is still acting in live theater and was in the movie Princess Diaries 2 in 2003. Bud, now 71, was involved in Speedway Motorcycle Racing in the 70s, 80s and 90s. He invented the F1 Guitar Pick (I bet you always wondered about that!) And little Kathy (Kitten) will be 64 this year. She had a very rough real-life family situation and was married at age 16 and divorced by 18. She got involved with heroin and prostitution. In 1973, she finally got her life together, started a family and was last known to be working as a hotel concierge in Orlando.
Maybe if that show had stayed on the air longer, Father would have known best and been able to keep her on the straight and narrow.
Bonnie has stayed busy performing in live theater throughout the Northeast and is now very involved with bringing theater into the school system in Pasadena, CA, working closely with several high schools and helping to develop a theater curriculum. As Annie Romano on One Day At A Time, Bonnie was one of the early single moms on TV. (The first one I remember was Diahann Carroll as Julia.) She struggled to raise Julie and Barbara despite the help of her (overly) friendly apartment super. “Barbara” has done okay for the most part. She married and eventually divorced Eddie Van Halen with whom she has a son. She’s currently serving as a spokesperson for Jenny Craig and showing off her new body. She also appears as a regular guest on The Rachel Ray Show, helping with various features. Julie, ran through a bad time with drugs and alcohol and was eventually fired from the show. She eventually completed rehab and got her life together. She is acting again and has a 2009 TV movie, Radio Needles. You may also have seen her guesting on Cold Case, 7th Heaven, Without a Trace, and more. She has also performed with her dad, John Phillips, in his group The Mamas and The Papas.
We learned just how tough doing it all on your own can be from Bonnie.
A breast cancer survivor, she’s still acting. We’ll see her next in a 2009 TV movie, Bound By A Secret. Elyse and Steven Keaton, on Family Ties, did their best to raise four kids: Alex, Mallory, Jennifer and Andrew. We all know where “Alex” is. In fact, he had a TV special on this past Friday about dealing with Parkinson’s Disease. Mallory is still acting, most recently in Psych, Californication and Desperate Housewives. Jennifer is married with two children and has performed with her brother’s band, Jaded. Andrew retired from acting at the age of 14 in 1995 and has had a number of run-ins with the law. He is a member of the band Thrasher.
Again, it’s that youngest one that was a problem. Why couldn’t he be more like his brother, Alex?
Harriet passed in 1994 of congestive heart failure. Together with her husband, Ozzie, she helped raise real-life sons David and Ricky Nelson on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. If I remember correctly, Ozzie actually did most of the writing and directing himself, basing the story lines on their real life at home. David is a film producer and Ricky went on to become a very successful singer before his death in a plane crash on December 31, 1985. Ricky fathered actress Tracy Nelson, singers Matthew and Gunner (The Nelsons) and Sam Nelson, who also sings.
Since Ozzie was often as much trouble as the kids, Harriet proved a strong mom can keep the family healthy, functioning and semi-happy.
We lost Carolyn to colon cancer in 1983. **Interesting tidbit - she was once married to Aaron Spelling. She and Gomez Adams raised Pugsley and Wednesday on The Adams Family in a rather “unique” manner with the help of a loving and “helpful” extended family. Wednesday grew up to do PR work for a hotel chain. Pugsley is a set-builder for TV shows.
What do you know? Even an off-the-wall childhood can create somewhat “normal” adults!
Just goes to show you, there’s lots of ways to raise your kids and no one method is fool proof or guaranteed to create happy successful grownups. All one can do, is go with your gut feelings, love them with all your soul and sit back and laugh whenever possible. Most really do recall the love later on and they’ll always remember the laughs. Those are the stories they’ll repeat to their grandchildren one day.