Estelle Getty, (center) The Golden Girls
Picture it: NBC, 1986. A small-stature Sicilian concocts both a mean marinara and devastating punch lines for seven seasons on The Golden Girls as she rules over the roost of three sassy seniors in Miami. With her trademark cardigans and glasses, no one was safe from her hilarious barbs. (Blanche: I treat my body like a temple.
Sophia: Yeah, open to everyone, day or night!) With an exaggerated story for every occasion, this Shady Pines escapee is the octogenarian to beat. Jim Smeal
(Doris Roberts), Everybody Loves Raymond
Ray who? The real reason audiences flocked to the CBS powerhouse Everybody Loves Raymond was for the cankerous grandparents that lived across the street. Marie was the ultimate grandmotherlasagna-baking, portrait-taking babysitter in waiting. But as queen of the backhanded compliment, her sharpest weapon was the guilt she inflicted on her two grown sons. The Emmys agreed with the smothering matriarch: Roberts won four statuettes during her run as Marie. Theo Wargo