Zara Cully Brown will always be remembered as crotchety old Mother Olivia Jefferson, forever spoiling her son George and judging Louise. Cully was born in 1892 and didn't appear in any major roles until the late 1960s. After appearing on episodes of Night Gallery, The Mod Squad and Days of Our Lives, she played an aging voodoo queen in the 1974 movie Sugar Hill. The same year, she began her stint as Mother Jefferson on All in the Family, followed by The Jeffersons. Cully died of cancer on Feb. 28, 1978.
The apple did not fall far from the tree when George Jefferson was born: "Mother" Olivia Jefferson is as much a windbag as the son she spoils. She loves to social climb as much as George and brags maybe even more than he does. She has a knack for inviting herself over for dinner and for showing up at George's penthouse apartment at inopportune times. George adores her, and as such Louise develops strategies to deal with her - including trading insults. Nothing Louise does is good enough for Mother Jefferson, but George doesn't see the passive-aggressive side she presents to her daughter-in-law.