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Mother Olivia Jefferson

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Mother Jefferson
Mother Jefferson
Mother Jefferson, played by actress Zara Cully.
Personal Information
Gender: Female
Nickname Mama, as called by George
Also known as Olivia Jefferson
Occupation/
Career:
Retired domestic
Character
description:
George Jefferson's disparaging, meddlesome mother
oftentimes serves as antagonist to Louise, while sweet to others; loves Bloody Marys!
Spouse(s): William Jefferson (late husband, George's father)
Related to: George Jefferson (son)
Henry Jefferson (son)
Louise Jefferson (daughter-in-law)
Lionel Jefferson (grandson)
Raymond Jefferson (grandson)
Jessica Jefferson (great-granddaughter)
Jenny Willis-Jefferson (granddaughter-in-law)
Character information
Appeared on: The Jeffersons
Character played by: Zara Cully
Jeffersons Wiki Script Gold

Mother Jefferson is the mother of George Jefferson and the mother in-law of Louise Jefferson, and the grandmother of Lionel Jefferson on The Jeffersons; she made her first appearance on All In The Family, appearing in the fifth season (1974-75) episodes titled "Lionel's Engagement" and "Movin' On Up", which would serve as the pilot for The Jeffersons series. Her character, would be spun-off into The Jeffersons spinoff in January that same season. On the show, Mother Jefferson is played by veteran character actress/black vaudeville performer Zara Cully.

About Mother JeffersonEdit

In Mother Jefferson's first appearance was in the All in the Family episode, "Lionel's Engagement," where she takes offense at being referred to as "mammy," by Archie Bunker, who thinks the term is a variation of "mommy." Mother Jefferson is a catty, disparaging, and antagonistic mother-in-law to Louise, while appearing to be practically a sweet old lady to everyone else. Mother Jefferson is one of the stereotypical mothers-in-law who think their daughter-in-law isn't good enough for their son. In nearly every episode she was seen in, she is usually tormenting Louise by criticizing her cooking, her age, or her overall character, but Louise frequently came back at her with a witty albeit sarcastic response. (On a couple of rare occasions, however, Mother Jefferson sides with Louise, when she takes offense at George's boorish or sexist behavior.) A long-running gag had Mother Jefferson blissfully ignorant of how much alcohol she actually consumes, usually in the form of a Bloody Mary, which she stated she drank "for the vitamins".


Zara Cully, who played Mother Jefferson, had been absent from the first 17 episodes of Season Three due to a serious case of pneumonia caused by a collapsed lung. Upon recovering she returned for a few episodes, noticeably thinner and more frail. She died early in Season Four, and the writers decided to eliminate Mother Jefferson's character rather than replace her with a different actress. No special episode was created centering on her death, but it was briefly referenced in the second episode of the Fifth Season, "Homecoming (Part 1)". "Mother Jefferson" is deceased. It was also mentioned about her passing in "George Finds a Father".

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