Big Bang Theory Penny's Mom

The Big Bang Theory: 8 Actresses Who Could Play Penny's Mom

You know how the mother of the bride is never supposed to steal the spotlight from her daughter on her wedding day? Yeah, there’s going to be no way to keep that from happening if The Big Bang Theory finally introduces us to Penny’s often-mentioned-but-never-before-seen mom in the fall.

“It’s a little early to say for sure” whether or not it’s actually going to be possible, showrunner Steven Molaro recently told TVLine, “but we would very much like to meet Penny’s mom” at her daughter and Leonard’s vow-renewal ceremony.

So would we. After nine seasons of curiosity, we’re dying — seriously, dying! — to know what Wyatt’s better half is like. (See also: our past eagerness to get a glimpse of Howard’s mother, Frasier‘s Maris, etc.) “We’ll see how far we can get in one episode,” Molaro added.

In the meantime, it just so happens that, over the years, your friends at TVLine have given the subject some thought and come up with a few ideas about which actresses might believably play Kaley Cuoco‘s mom — as well as make a darn cute couple with Keith Carradine.

So scroll through the gallery below to check out our picks — including alumni of everything from American Horror Story to The Carol Burnett Show — then hit the comments with your suggestions to play Leonard’s mother-in-law.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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234 Comments
  1. Daya says:

    I tried to picture all these women with Wyatt and my votes are for Kathy, Debra Jo and Valerie. (Being a 70s Show fan, I’m already partial to Debra Jo…so sweet and adorable!)

    • Laura says:

      Yeah it would have to be someone a little on the curvy to plus size side if they want to keep with the show continuity. I will always remember the episode when Penny steals Sheldon’s dumpling and he says to her “I’ve seen pictures of your mother. Keep eating.” LOL!

  2. peterwdawson says:

    I’m liking Heather Locklear and Gail O’grady.

  3. Melissa says:

    I’d love to see Kaley reunite with her 8 Simple Rules TV mom Katey Sagal – make it happen CBS!

  4. Brian Doyle says:

    I vote for Katey Segal

  5. Rob says:

    This list is invalid because Katey Sagal was unceremoniously omitted.

  6. Lisa Kudrow and Heather Locklear are old enough to play Penny’s mom?! Say it ain’t so!

    • Joey says:

      Lisa Kudrow played Ellie Kemper’s mom on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Ellie Kemper, so…

      • Making her sixteen when she had her.
        I was mostly commenting on the fact that those women are old enough (or considered old enough) to play the moms of fully grown women. Makes me feel old!

        • NJMark says:

          No, characters aren’t automatically the same age as the actors who play them. John Amos and Jimmie Walker played father and son with only an 8 year age difference between the actors.

    • Raul J says:

      Kaley Cuoco is 30, Lisa Kudrow will be 53 this year and Heather Locklear will turn 55, so, it is so; both ladies could play Penny’s mom and it wouldn’t be weird.

  7. I apologize for being off topic here, but is there a way to fix the ads on the side? This Ion ad blocks my WordPress notifications.

  8. Falcon says:

    The obvious (and for my vote, only choice) is Katey Sagal.

  9. Shar says:

    I’m more curious to see who plays her brother – Giovanni Ribisi ? Matt Czuchry? Steve Zahn?

  10. Linda says:

    From the list I can only see Gail O’Grady playing her mother and not on the list, Katey Sagal.

  11. Kevin K says:

    Either Kathy Bates or Vicki Lawrence

  12. Khaatim Boyd says:

    Katey Sagal obviously, but one suggestion I think is missing is Roseanne. Keep digging form that gravy train.

  13. Diz says:

    Katey Sagal or no one!

  14. april-ann says:

    Allison Janney…Melora Hardin…Caroline Rhea…Susie Essman…Megan Mullally…Jane Lynch…Wanda Sykes…Jane Curtin.

  15. Reba42 says:

    The problem is finding funny, not too much stunt casting, and has never had work done (so it’s believable she’s from Nebraska). I vote for Amy Madigan. It would a nice throw back to Carridine’s Frank on Criminal Minds, and she and Sheldon’s mother were both vying for the attention of Uncle Buck. Plus, I can see her as wholesome, not trashy, which is a nice juxtaposition for a son that cooks meth, and a girl who was as “popular” as Penny was.

  16. jj says:

    Lisa Kudrow or Katey Sagal would be my choices. Some of the women on the list are old enough to play her grandmother.

  17. How about My Name Is Earl’s Jamie Pressley? or Jane Lynch?

  18. GraceM says:

    Anyone but Kathleen Turner. She’s a great actress but she’s not looking so good these days.

  19. Mike says:

    I have a BETTER question. When are we going to find out Penny’s LAST NAME??

  20. Guilherme says:

    Lisa Kudrow and Debra Jo Rupp.

  21. Richard says:

    Peggy Lipton, Donna Dixon, Brett Butler, Annie Potts, Cybil Shepherd, Sharon Stone, Melanie Griffith, Glenn Close, Olivia Newton John

  22. datdudemurphy says:

    if Charlotte Ross weren’t busy being someone else’s mom, she’d be perfect

    • Gorgia Madman says:

      Charlotte Ross would be perfect as long as she didn’t want to be typecast as the hot (and funny) Mom.

    • Crystal Moore says:

      Who’s mom is Charlotte Ross playing now?

      • Charlotte Ross is currently appearing on “Arrow”. She’s an excellent actress, and has the right looks for the part. Like many of the people suggested, she would have been an excellent choice had they wanted to introduce Penny’s mother as a recurring character. But, since any appearance by Penny’s mother would be a ratings stunt near the end of the series’ run, Charlotte Ross doesn’t have the “ratings bait” appeal that this role demands.

        • Crystal Moore says:

          That’s awesome for Charlotte Ross. I’ve always liked her since her Soap Opera Days and have enjoyed her over and over in the Glee episodes as Quinn’s mom. Didn’t know she was in something else because I haven’t yet started my Arrow marathon. Thanks for the info.

  23. Lucas says:

    How about Michelle Pfeiffer!

  24. Rute says:

    Kathy Bates please, because she is funny, can play a bully as Penny, once Sheldon inplyid that he saw a photo of her mom and it was overweighted, as totally different look from the other moms, it’s the ideal image the break things and kickass Nebraska style and I love her :)

  25. Kate says:

    A few of your “mom” choices for Penny would be more appropriate as grandmother selections. Vicki Lawrence and Kathy Bates are both nearly 70, and Kathleen Turner is almost 65. Knowing Penny, do you think her mom would be the type to wait until her mid-30’s to have kids? I’m thinking Penny got her promiscuous nature from someone! lol Though you hit on a few great choices: Lisa Kudrow, Gail O’Grady or Heather Locklear.

  26. Tom says:

    Vickie Lawrence seems a bit too old and Heather Locklear a bit too young, but they’d be my top picks.

  27. Goldie Hawn is the perfect choice.

  28. Goldie Hawn is the only choice.

    • Matt S says:

      Was this nomination a JOKE?!

      Goldie Hawn is the OPPOSITE of what Penny’s mother is supposed to be.

      *She’s completely ‘plastic-looking’ which someone from Nebraska would never be.

  29. Matt S says:

    Since she already has the accent, I would say Debra Jo Rupp would be the perfect candidate. My heart (and other body parts) wants to see Heather Locklear.

  30. Danielle says:

    Katey Sagal!

  31. Brian Lanz says:

    I think Vicki Lawrence would be PERFECT cast as Penny’s “mama”.

  32. Shouldn’t it be someone from Roseanne??? But Kathy Bates would be awesome.

  33. Joe says:

    suzanne somers would be perfect as Penny’s mom

  34. charles knowlton says:

    cathy bates is one of the finest actress around and very versatile. But then Vickie Lawrence could pack a wallup as MAMA.

  35. Kathy Bates and Kathleen Turner? Maybe her Grandmother… but Heather and Lisa for sure.

  36. I like Gail, Heather ,or Lisa

  37. CARROLL says:

    Gail made her personality known in the TV cop show with Dennis Franz in NY BLUE so much like penny don’t know about the others but some one sassy like Reba McIntyre would be perfect .

  38. You left out one of the best options of all, the actress who played Kaley’s mother on 8 Simple Rules, Katey Sagal. I’d love to see a cross between Peg Bundy and Gemma Teller interacting with Keith Carradine as Penny’s father Wyatt. And, cast Christina Applegate has Penny’s older sister!

  39. Debra Jo Rupp!! Maybe Kathy Bates, but she’s a little bit too old. No way Heather Locklear or Kathleen Turner.

  40. Shaun Gamble says:

    Should be Katey Sagal from S.O.A. & 8 simple rules

  41. Why not Lynda Carter or Carrie Fisher?

  42. PK Dilks says:

    Lida Kudrow would be good, but Goldie Hawn or Teri Garr would be even better. Vicki Lawrence should play Penny’s off-kilter Grandma — no one does the Midwestern small town eccentric fussbudget better than Vicki.

  43. John Shea says:

    Katey Sagal as half Peg Bundy and half Gemma with a little Leela thrown in.

  44. Alicia Dale says:

    I can see Vicki Lawrence and Keith being Penny’s mom and dad. both have a great dry wit about them and have played various roles.

  45. Sushi says:

    the first one that came to mind was Lisa Kudrow before I saw the gallery I think that would be an awesome pairing

  46. Lady GAGA as mom and Connie Stevens as Grandma

  47. vicky l or lisa k would be fabulous

  48. Sushi says:

    Lisa Kudrow came to mind before seeing the gallery I think that would be a good match up

  49. Trapper Go says:

    I think they should use Katey Sagal, her mother from 8 Simple Rules, but not tell her until she walks out onto the set.

  50. wayne says:

    Heather Locklear, perfect match.