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The Mama’s Family Cast

Mama's Family, Vicki Lawrence

Mama’s Family was a TV show that was released January 22, 1983, and premiered on NBC. The network cancelled the show in May of 1984. NBC, continued to air reruns until September 1985. In 1986, the show returned in syndication and aired for an additional four seasons. This time ending on March 12, 1990. Mama’s Family was actually a spin-off of the comedy sketches on The Carol Burnett Show in the 70s, and it was originally called The Family.

The TV show was created by Dick Clair and Jenna McMahon. The theme music composer was Peter Matz. The opening theme song was called “Bless My Happy Home”. The show ended up running for a total of 6 seasons, and is said to have to have been 130 episodes total. The show was produced by Joe Hamilton, who Carol Burnett was married to at the time.

Mama’s Family garnered one Emmy Award, in 1984. The show also picked up a TV Land Award, in 2004. It was also nominated for other Emmy Awards in 1983 and 1987, and a Young Artist Awards in 1984, 1985, and 1989. Bob Mackie designed the original costumes that were worn through out the program.

Vicki Lawrence played Thelma ‘Mama’ Crowley Harper for 126 episodes that lasted from 1983-1990. She also found much success as a singer, actress, and comedian. She is also an Emmy Award winning actress. She has also been credited as Vicki Lawrence Schultz. She has two children, Courtney (1975) and Garrett (1977). She hosted the game show Win, Lose, or Draw. She appeared on many game shows as herself, and as Mama Harper. She had her own talk show and was nominated for an Emmy Award for the show. She is said to tour the country as herself and as Thelma Mama Harper. Oh and Vicki Lawrence is in the new television series Hannah Montana, and the Hannah Montana Movie as well. She has also released many song singles throughout the years. She is still in the entertainment business.

Ken Berry played the role of Vinton Harper, Mama’s only son. He was in all 126 episodes of Mama’s Family from 1983-1990. He was born in Moline, Illinois, on November 3, 1933. His career started as a dancer. He then went on to star in 1960s television sitcoms. He made his TV debut on Soldier Parade. He won the all-army talent contest that landed him a spot on Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town, which later became The Ed Sullivan Show. Berry’s army sargeant was Leonard Nimoy, who was the one who urged him to perform. His career boost occured performing on the Billy Barnes Revues in the 50s and 60s. This is where he met his future wife to be, Jackie Johnson. The two were married from 1960-1977. Together, they adopted two children.

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Dorothy Lyman played the role of floosie and wife to Vinton, her name was Naomi Oates Harper. She was in 121 episodes from 1983-1990. She is listed as an actress, director, and producer. She too is most known for her role in Mama’s Family. Originally, she was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her first appearance was on the soap opera A World Apart, in 1971. It was several years later when she appeared in The Edge of the Night, Another World (1976-1980), Tales From The Darkside, ALF, Generations, and The Bold and the Beautiful (1991-1992). Her most notable role was in the soap opera All My Children as Opal Sue Gardner, a role she garnered two Emmy Awards for, in 1982 and 1983. She had previously attended school with Jill Larson, who eventually took over her role in the soap opera. She also appeared in Vicki Lawrence’s talk show Vicki!After Mama’s Family was cancelled she then went behind the camera where she produced and directed episodes of The Nanny, where she later made a special appeareance. She had reoccuring roles on Bob, which was Bob Newhart’s third series. She also made a cameo appearance in I Love Trouble. She also made an appearance on the television show Reba. She also guest-starred in 2007 in Battlestar Galactica. Lyman, currently lives New York City.

Allan Kayser played the role of grandson, Bubba Higgins, for 94 episodes, from 1986-1990. He was born December 18, 1963 with the birth name Allan J. Kayser II. Born and raised in Littleton, Colorado, he attended Columbine High School from 1978-1982. He participated in wrestling and baseball, and was a drummer in several rock bands. Shortly after graduating, he moved to Los Angeles, California. He had a role in several motion pictures in the 1980s, including Night of the Creeps. He is best known for his starring role in Mama’s Family from 1986-1990. The role put him as a teen idol in the 80s. It was 1989, when he was nominated for a Young Artist Award as Best Young Actor Guest Starring in a Drama or Comedy Series for his role as Bubba Higgins. In the early 1990s, Kayser retired from acting and settled down with his wife Lori, and their only child at the time. It was during this time where he moved to Missouri, where he attended Central Missouri State University. For several years he operated a dance academy with his wife. In 2000, he moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, shortly before he and his wife divorced. He returned to acting and played a role in the Disney Channel movie Double Teamed. Soon after, he returned to California with the hopes of reigniting his career. He was unable to find work and so he returned to Kansas City in the mid-2000’s to raise his children. He had a starring role in the film Shimmer, and played a role in All Roads Lead Home, which opened in theaters on September 26, 2008. His resume lists him as a marksman with handguns, rifles, and shotguns. It also says he is proficient in aikido, cycling, motorcycling, weight traning, and baseball. He is also listed as an accomplished bartender and drummer/percussionist. You can find his official website at http://www.gunstockacres.com/allan_kayser/ .

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Beverly Archer played the role of crafty home-maker and neighbor as Iola Lucille Boylan. She appeared in 90 episodes, from 1986-1990. Archer was born on July 19, 1948, in Oak Park, Illinois. She is perhaps best known for her role as Iola Boylan, for four seasons on Mama’s Family. She also played the role of Alva Bricker on Major Dad from 1990-1993. Other programs she has appeared in include The Young and the Restless, ALF, Project ALF (the movie), The Brady Bunch, Married With Children, Full House (1994), Grace Under Fire, The Fall Guy, and Family Ties. Not just an actor, she also wrote episodes for Mama’s Family and Alf.

Carol Burnett was Eunice Higgins, Mama’s dramatic daughter. She appeared in 6 episodes from 1983-1985, though I thought she appeared in many more episodes. Carol Creighton Burnett was born in 1933, in San Antonio, Texas. She has been active in the entertainment industry since 1955. She had found much success as an actress, singer, dancer, writer, and comedienne. She was first a big hit on Broadway before moving on to other roles. The Carol Burnett Show ran for eleven years. She continues being extremely successful throughout her career appearing in film, stage, and television.

Rue McClanahan played Mama’s baby sister, Fran Crowley. She was in 23 episodes from 1983-1985. This Emmy Award-winning actress is best known for her roles on Tv sitcoms like The Golden Girls and Maude. Currently, she stars in Sordid Lives: The Series. McClanahan was born on February 21, 1934, in Healdton, Oklahoma. She first started her acting career in 1957, and found her breakout role on Another World. In 1961 she had a starring role in The Rotten Apple and Walk the Angry Beach in 1968. After that she had a role in Some of My Best Friends AreMaude, the TV show ran from 1972 to 1978. The Golden Girls part lasted from 1985 to 1992. In reward for her part on the show she won an Emmy Award in 1987, for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. She was of course in the early seasons of Mama’s Family as Aunt Fran Crowley, from 1983 to 1985. She was in the Broadway production of Wicked in 2005. This achieved positive reviews from the New York Times. In 2003, she was in the musical comedy The Fighting Temptations. She also appeared at the 2008 TV Land Awards, where she was honored for the cast’s role in the Golden Girls. She accepted the Pop Culture award with Bea Arthur and Betty White. She also played a part in the series Sordid Lives, which premiered in 2008. McClanahan, was one of the first celebrity supporters of PETA. She has been an animal-rights advocate and vegetarian. Her career is chalked full of films, television roles, and she has been nominated for many awards.

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Betty White played Mama’s oldest daughter, the uppidty Ellen Jackson. She was only in 15 episodes, from 1983-1986. When Mama’s Family was picked up in syndication after being canceled by NBC in 1985, White left the show. She did have one final appearance in 1986. She went on to play the role of Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. She went on to star in many television shows like Ally McBeal, The Ellen Show, My Wife and Kids, That 70s Show, Everwood, Malcolm in hte Middle, Yes, Dear, Suddenly Susan, and many others. She was nominated for Emmy Awards for her roles in Suddenly Susan, Yes Dear, and The Practice. In 1996, she won an Emmy Award for her role in The John Larroquette Show. She also had work lending her voice to roles in King of the Hill, The Wild Thornberrys, Family Guy, and The Simpsons. In 2006, she joined The Bold and the Beautiful. She returned to the role in 2007 and 2008. She has had much success and appeared in many others roles. Not to mention she has been nominated for and won many awards throughout her career.

Other cast members included Harvery Korman (Ed Higgings, 3 episodes), Dorothy Van (Aunt Effie Harper, 7 episodes), Earl Boen (Reverend Meechum, 4 episodes), Anne Haney (Alberta Meechum, 4 episodes), Eric Brown (young Vinton, 29 episodes), Alan Oppenheimer (the Mayor, 4 episodes), Ted Zeigler (Sam, 3 episodes), Karin Argoud (Sonya Harper, 27 episodes). There were also many others characters who appeared on the show throughout the years.

Please do not forget to go here http://mamasfamilysite.proboards15.com/index.cgi?board=warnerbrothersdvdpetition and sign the petition. Your signature will help Warner Bros. to release Season 2 of Mama’s Family on DVD. Currently Only Season 1 is available!




http://www.wikipedia.org for remainder cast bios.