WILES in TV Land

By John Nathan

From cowgirls to cops, and doctors to designers, women have pretty much done it all on television.  This month, Wiles Magazine is proud to share some of our favorite working women from TV Land.  And, in the words of the iconic disco diva Donna Summer, “She works hard for the money, so you better treat her right!”

10.  Victoria Barkley – Silver screen legend Barbra Stanwyck starred as matriarch “Victoria Barkely” in The Big Valley – a western series set in California’s San Joaquin Valley – from 1965–1969.  In addition to fighting off horse thieves and bank robbers, Victoria worked tirelessly to keep her family together – a family which included “Heath” – the product of her late husband’s affair with another woman!

Photo by Ken Whitmore








9.  Julia Baker – As the titular character in 1968’s ground-breaking series JULIA, Diahann Carroll elegantly portrayed a young widowed nurse raising her young son alone.

Photo Courtesy of All Enthusiast, Inc.









8. Carol Brady – Florence Henderson shines as one of our favorite TV moms in The Brady Bunch – a series that ran from (1969-1974).   Now, some may question our selection of Carol Brady to this list since she was a stay-at-home mom.  But our response to that criticism is this: try raising six children and let us know whether or not you think being a mom is work!


Photo Courtesy of Celebrity News/Stars Entertainment









7.  Alice Hyatt – Beginning in 1976, Linda Lavin starred as a hard-nosed single mom and waitress in the greasy spoon Mel’s Diner in the hit sitcom ALICE. On top of serving up the hash to her customers, Alice usually found herself refereeing between no-nonsense waitress “Flo” and the ever-cranky short order cook and owner “Mel.”

(Photo credit: Tribune Media Services)









6.  Cagney & Lacey – Arguably two of the toughest cops to ever grace the small screen, Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly starred as “Det. Sgt. Christine Cagney” and “Det. Mary Beth Lacey,” respectively, in this adrenaline-pumping cop drama that aired from  1981-1988.

Photo Courtesy of Columbia Broadcasting Company









5.  Julia Sugarbaker – From 1986-1993, the late great Dixie Carter beguiled audiences as the outspoken, feminist and head of the designing firm Sugarbakers Design House on the fan favorite DESIGNING WOMEN.

Photo Courtesy of Bloodworth-Thomason









4.  Murphy Brown – Candice Bergen’s portrayal of a tough female journalist on the series MURPHY BROWN from 1988-1998 inspired a generation of young women, and ruffled a (Dan) Quayle’s feathers during the 1992 U.S. presidential election. 

Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros. Television









3.  Dr. Cristina Yang – Since 2005, Sandra Oh has portrayed the consummate over-achiever as the ever-acerbic perfectionist Dr. Cristina Yang on ABC’s medical drama GREY’S ANATOMY.

Photo Courtesy of ABC Entertainment









2.  Dr. Gloria Nathan – Prison is a scary place for men, let alone a sassy, sexy petite woman.  But as Dr. Gloria Nathan on HBO’s hard-hitting drama OZ, from 1997-2003, Lauren Velez resisted unwanted prisoner advances, dated a co-worker and dished out a little strong medicine along the way.

Photo Courtesy of HBO









1.  President Mackenzie Allen – In 2005, ABC’s short-lived series COMMANDER IN CHIEF gave audiences a weekly peek into what life might be like for a woman inside the Oval Office.  As the “Madam President,” Geena Davis managed to pull off being both strong and sexy as she balanced life as a wife and mother with the most demanding job on the planet.

Photo Courtesy of ABC Entertainment


So there you have it – our list of the Top 10 Hardest-Working Women in TV History.  Wanna add your favorite lady to our list?  Then “Like” us on Facebook and Join the Conversation!

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