Dead Mom Sitcoms

by lance135 | created - 23 Apr 2021 | updated - 05 Feb 2022 | Public

A list of sitcoms where the mother has passed to leave a father alone to take care of the kids. Comedy ensues.

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1. My Three Sons (1960–1972)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family

Widower Steve Douglas raises three sons with the help of his father-in-law, and is later aided by the boys' great-uncle. An adopted son, a stepdaughter, wives, and another generation of sons join the loving family in later seasons.

Stars: Fred MacMurray, Stanley Livingston, Don Grady, Barry Livingston

Votes: 4,117

The original dead mom sitcom that started it all.

2. The Andy Griffith Show (1960–1968)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family

Widower Sheriff Andy Taylor, and his son Opie, live with Andy's Aunt Bee in Mayberry, North Carolina. With virtually no crimes to solve, most of Andy's time is spent philosophizing and calming down his cousin Deputy Barney Fife.

Stars: Andy Griffith, Ron Howard, Don Knotts, Frances Bavier

Votes: 15,906

It was the year of dead moms.

3. The Beverly Hillbillies (1962–1971)

TV-G | 25 min | Comedy, Family

A nouveau riche hillbilly family moves to Beverly Hills and shakes up the privileged society with their hayseed ways.

Stars: Buddy Ebsen, Donna Douglas, Irene Ryan, Max Baer Jr.

Votes: 10,328

Mom didn't get to enjoy any of that Texas tea.

4. The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1969–1972)

Not Rated | 30 min | Comedy, Family

Widower Tom Corbett raises his young son Eddie.

Stars: Bill Bixby, Brandon Cruz, Miyoshi Umeki, Kristina Holland

Votes: 1,489

Hey, it worked before. Let's try it again.

5. To Rome with Love (1969–1971)

30 min | Comedy, Romance

After his wife dies, Michael Endicott leaves Iowa with his three daughters to accept a teaching position at the American Overseas School in Rome, Italy. His sister, Harriet Endicott also ... See full summary »

Stars: John Forsythe, Joyce Menges, Susan Neher, Melanie Fullerton

Votes: 70

6. Nanny and the Professor (1970–1971)

30 min | Comedy, Fantasy

A remarkable young English nanny takes over the household of a widowed professor and his three children.

Stars: Juliet Mills, Richard Long, David Doremus, Trent Lehman

Votes: 935

A Mary Poppins type is surrogate mother to some motherless children.

7. Sanford and Son (1972–1977)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy

The misadventures of a cantankerous junk dealer and his frustrated son.

Stars: Redd Foxx, Demond Wilson, LaWanda Page, Don Bexley

Votes: 10,144

Actually, the son takes care of the father in this one, at least until he joins Elizabeth after the big one. A show that makes heart disease a fun thing you can use to get sympathy.

8. Diff'rent Strokes (1978–1986)

TV-14 | 30 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

The misadventures of a wealthy Manhattan family who adopted the children of their late African American housekeeper from Harlem.

Stars: Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, Conrad Bain, Dana Plato

Votes: 11,884

Arnold and Willis move in with a rich guy 'cause mom's gone.

9. Benson (1979–1986)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family

Jessica Tate's sharp-tongued former butler, Benson DuBois, moves up in the world, becoming first the governor's "director of household affairs," then the state's budget director, then lieutenant governor and candidate for the executive mansion.

Stars: Robert Guillaume, James Noble, Inga Swenson, Missy Gold

Votes: 3,813

Benson moves on from the Tates to help take care of the daughter of the state's governor, a widower of course. However, we don't get to move on from this trope.

10. Gimme a Break! (1981–1987)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy

Nell agrees to look after the Kanisky's home, as a special favor to her dying friend, and takes on the role of housekeeper to widowed police chief Carl and a parental figure to his three teenage daughters, and eventually a foster son.

Stars: Nell Carter, Lara Jill Miller, Kari Michaelsen, Lauri Hendler

Votes: 3,494

I'm afraid we get no break from the dead mom trope in the '80s.

11. My Two Dads (1987–1990)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family

When Marcy Bradford dies, she leaves her teenage daughter, Nicole, in the custody of two ex-boyfriends - Michael, a straight-laced and formal man, and Joey, a wild artist.

Stars: Paul Reiser, Greg Evigan, Staci Keanan, Florence Stanley

Votes: 3,970

Which dad is the father? Don't know, 'cause Mom took that secret to her grave.

12. Who's the Boss? (1984–1992)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family, Romance

Tony Micelli, a retired baseball player, becomes the housekeeper of Angela Bower, an advertising executive in New York. Together they raise their kids, Samantha Micelli and Jonathan Bower, with help from Mona Robinson, Angela's man-crazy mother.

Stars: Tony Danza, Judith Light, Alyssa Milano, Danny Pintauro

Votes: 14,482

Angela. Angela's the boss. Also, Sam's mom is dead. And she was a saint.

13. Full House (1987–1995)

TV-G | 22 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

A widowed sportscaster raises his three daughters with assistance from his rock and roll brother-in-law and madcap best friend.

Stars: Bob Saget, John Stamos, Dave Coulier, Candace Cameron Bure

Votes: 60,686

No, it's not about poker, it's about a widower and his two roommates that raise his three kids. Mom was a saint.

14. Empty Nest (1988–1995)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

"Empty Nest" tells of the day to day misadventures of a widowed pediatrician named Harry Weston and his two adult daughters, Barbara and Carol, who have come back to live with him after failed marriages.

Stars: Richard Mulligan, Dinah Manoff, David Leisure, Park Overall

Votes: 3,705

Two adult sisters move back in with their father, who is (wait for it) a widower. Mom was a saint.

15. The Nanny (1993–1999)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy, Family, Romance

After being fired from her job and dumped by her boyfriend, a cosmetics saleswoman becomes the nanny to the three children of a rich English widower. As time passes, the two fall for each other.

Stars: Fran Drescher, Charles Shaughnessy, Daniel Davis, Lauren Lane

Votes: 45,778

Fran takes over raising the kids of an old money playwright. You might not be surprised to learn that MOM WAS A SAINT.

16. How I Met Your Mother (2005–2014)

TV-14 | 22 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A father recounts to his children - through a series of flashbacks - the journey he and his four best friends took leading up to him meeting their mother.

Stars: Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris

Votes: 701,364

Spoiler alert. Doesn't technically qualify, but you know why it's on this list. Mom was a saint. And the kids will need a lot of therapy after hearing all these stories.

17. The Conners (2018– )

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy

Follow-up to the comedy series Roseanne (1988), centering on the family members of the matriarch after her sudden death.

Stars: John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Alicia Goranson

Votes: 11,351

Mom was killed by a tweet. Or opiates.

18. The Unicorn (2019–2021)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

A widower is eager to move on from the most difficult year of his life, only to realize he's utterly unprepared to raise his two daughters on his own and equally unprepared for the dating world where he's suddenly a hot commodity.

Stars: Walton Goggins, Rob Corddry, Omar Benson Miller, Maya Lynne Robinson

Votes: 4,453

They just can't help themselves - moms must die! (Mom was a saint)

19. Kenan (2021–2022)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy

A recently widowed dad tries to raise his kids with his brother and persistent former father-in-law.

Stars: Kenan Thompson, Chris Redd, Kimrie Lewis, Dani Lane

Votes: 2,030

Still carrying on the fine tradition of dead moms. Mom was a saint (wait, did I say that already?)

20. Country Comfort (2021)

TV-PG | 25 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

An aspiring young country singer (Katharine McPhee) finds the band she's been missing when she takes a job as nanny for a musically talented family: a rugged cowboy (Eddie Cibrian) and his five children.

Stars: Katharine McPhee, Eddie Cibrian, Ricardo Hurtado, Jamie Martin Mann

Votes: 3,891

Netflix: where dead mom tropes are still greenlit.

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