Mary Cooper (née Tucker) is the mother of Sheldon Cooper, George Cooper Jr., and Missy Cooper and wife/widow of George Cooper Sr.. She is a devout born-again Christian from East Texas. Her husband passed away many years ago. She is also the grandmother of Missy Cooper's son and the sister of Carl and Edward. She is the mother-in-law of Amy Farrah Fowler.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Physical appearance
- 3 Personality
- 4 Appearances
- 5 Quotes
- 6 Family
- 7 Relationships
- 8 Trivia
- 9 Gallery
- 10 External links
When Sheldon is fired for disrespecting his new boss, Dr. Eric Gablehauser, Mary comes to help after being called by Leonard when he resorts to odd activities to pass the time. At first, she tries to coax him to apologize to his ex-boss, but finally tells him off about his superior attitude and forces him to go apologize. She goes with him, and Dr. Gablehauser admittedly develops an attraction to her (she quickly points out her husband is dead). Sheldon ends up getting his job back without really apologizing.
Mary is absent in Season 2, but was mentioned in a few episodes.
She was mentioned in "The Panty Piñata Polarization," when Sheldon banishes Penny from the apartment. Leonard, who witnessed the whole incident, decides to put an end to this war by giving Penny what he describes as Sheldon's Kryptonite: his mother's phone number. She suddenly calls him and reprimands him about his behavior to Penny; thus he apologizes.
In "The Maternal Capacitance," when Leonard's mother Beverly visits and goes to the toilet, Leonard and Sheldon discuss their mothers. After Sheldon expresses admiration for Leonard's mother, he reveals that Mary once hit him with a Bible because he wouldn't eat his brussels sprouts. Leonard says that Sheldon doesn't give his mother enough credit and that she's warm, loving, and doesn't glue electrodes to people's heads to measure their brain waves while potty-training.
Sheldon goes to his hometown in Texas when his friends damage his career. She welcomes him back, though she starts to irritate him with her religious quirks. He drives her crazy because of his arrogant attitude. The guys show up to take him back, and he agrees only when his mother starts up again with her religious beliefs on evolution. She admits to being happy he is leaving, commenting, "Don't tell me prayer never works!"
Sheldon meets a new friend named Amy, who is the female version of him. They have a falling out when they disagree on whose career is better, and Sheldon lapses into an odd depression where he buys multiple cats. Mary comes and tricks the two into making up by using reverse psychology. She makes it seem she is happy the two split up and they rebel by mending their friendship.
Mary comes to visit her son, but ends up spending more time with his friends. She chooses to accompany his friends on a sightseeing trip of Hollywood rather than go with Sheldon to a lecture where he wants to embarrass Saul Perlmutter and to have her cook the meals that Sheldon wants her to prepare. Annoyed, he goes with Amy, but catches a cold when it rains. Becoming sick, Mary finally gives him attention and nurses him back to health.
Mary was absent in all episodes in Season 6, but was mentioned a few times.
In "The Santa Simulation," it is revealed that her father died when Sheldon was 5 years old. At the Babybrook Mall in Galveston, Texas, that same year, Mary dragged Sheldon to the mall and plopped Sheldon on Santa's lap, and Sheldon said he wanted his grandfather back when asked what he wanted for Christmas, but this was denied, and this became the reason that Sheldon hates Christmas.
She is mentioned again in "The Bakersfield Expedition" where a policeman asks Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, and Raj if they need him to call someone and he guesses their moms, referring to Mary, Beverly, Mrs. Wolowitz, and Mrs. Koothrappali, and Leonard responds "Thanks. But we got it covered."
She was mentioned in "The Raiders Minimization." Sheldon said that she used to put hamster poop in his father's tobacco when he used to drink.
In "The Mommy Observation", Sheldon surprises his mother with a visit and catches her having sexual relations with her boyfriend. First, Sheldon condemns her for having coitus despite her Christian beliefs, so she sends him to his room. Howard, who was in Houston lecturing, tells him how he drove away his mother's boyfriend and how she has been lonely ever since. Sheldon decides to not stand in his mother's way of happiness, though he still chooses to condemn her internally. Also, he tries to have a talk with her about the birds and the bees.
In "The Maternal Combustion," Mary Cooper finally meets Dr. Beverly Hofstadter, Leonard's mother. The two very different women start out as civil, but later quickly come to clash as Beverly insults and belittles Mary's strict religious beliefs, and Mary in turn derides Beverly's cold attitude and her parenting beliefs. Mary is especially insulted when Beverly is left dumbstruck how a genius intellect like Sheldon could be born to a woman like her. After taking a break from each other, the two come to terms with the argument: Mary decides to forgive Beverly for her offhandish ways, and Beverly realizes that there is more than one way to raise a child. The two mothers make up, and Beverly tries unconditional loving by trying an awkward hug with Leonard.
In "The Matrimonial Momentum," Sheldon is in his apartment calling her after his breakup with Amy. He regretfully informs her that Amy broke up with him and that he would like to send the engagement ring (which is an old family heirloom - it belonged to his great-grandmother) back to Texas. She tells him not to be too hasty - his sister Missy is already married, and she would rather Sheldon gave the ring to Amy than let his older brother George Jr. give it to his "whore of a girlfriend." Sheldon decides to hold on to it.
She reappears in "The Convergence-Convergence" when Sheldon invites her to Leonard and Penny's re-wedding and without telling the bride and groom. She is picked up by Amy whom she is fond of and tells her to call her "Mary." Mary is not pleased to meet Beverly again, as they barely speak in the apartment. She also fights again with Beverly over the Bible. Mary becomes quite taken with Leonard's father Alfred and they bond over their dislike of Beverly, his charm, and his tolerance of others' beliefs and their admiration of each other's beliefs. Both of them excuse themselves early from dinner and appear to be hooking up at their hotel to the discomfort of Leonard and Sheldon, and to Penny's delight.
In Mary's appearance in "The Conjugal Conjecture", it's revealed that she and Alfred merely had a simple conversation while at their hotel. Despite this, they still intend to see each other, much to Beverly, Leonard, and Sheldon's reluctance. Mary consoles Amy when she mistakenly thought that Sheldon would propose when he was giving a speech to Penny and Leonard. Afterwards, on the way to the airport, she teaches Amy how to make Sheldon treat her right. (Just add a little zing to it.)
In "The Holiday Summation," Sheldon and Amy visit her in Texas, where Sheldon is reluctant to tell her that they are living together, due to her religious beliefs. Sheldon is surprised that she couldn't be happier for them and also learns that she thought he would never find anyone. He is even more peeved when Amy had told her of the living arrangements ahead of time. Sheldon goes off and rebels, dressing like an idiot and getting an earring. Mary makes him take it out. Amy also learns that, even though Mary likes her, she does think that Amy is weird.
Mary reappeared in the season premiere, "The Proposal Proposal", when Sheldon phoned her to tell her that he and Amy were engaged. Mary was happy for the both of them, but she was not surprised, as she had been praying for the two of them. Sheldon informed his mother that they would not be getting married in a church, which was okay with Mary, as she said anywhere Jesus is a church, and he'll be there in her heart. She was also quite surprised to hear that there was more than one woman interested in Sheldon, otherwise she might've prayed a little too hard. After hanging up, Mary thanks the Lord for making the engagement happen, and that even though he (the Lord) can do miracles, that one was mighty impressive.
She reappeared in the "The Solo Oscillation," where she called Sheldon, who was annoyed by it, since he was trying to find something to work on.
In "The Bow Tie Asymmetry", Mary and her daughter Missy are picked up from the airport by Raj. She mentions that they had also been driven to the airport by an Indian fellow. Missy objected to her comment, in spite of the fact that it was barely even racist. Mary also is in denial that her daughter is also separated from her husband. Later at the wedding, when Mrs. Fowler wants to take her daughter away because she thinks that Sheldon has left her at the altar, Penny tells her to stop and that Sheldon would never hurt the woman he loves. Mary stands up and applauds Penny, who tells her to sit down too. Mary also tells Sheldon how proud she is of him, how she wishes her father was still here to see him and that her comment that "sometimes it's the imperfections in things that make things perfect" gives Sheldon an epiphany about his string theory work.
Mary hasn't appeared in Season 12. She is mentioned, but never appeared.
Mary is an attractive, older woman with brown hair and blue eyes. She often wears dresses and necklaces in her appearances.
"I have no illusions about my mother. She is a kind, loving, religiously fanatical right-wing Texan with a slightly out-of-scale head and a mild Dr. Pepper addiction."
―Sheldon Cooper, The Precious Fragmentation Mary is very wise, intelligent, caring, kind, friendly, loving, and sweet-natured: she is very religious, and at times, can be unwittingly bigoted - something Leonard occasionally has to point out to her. She appears to be an extremely good mother and is the only one who has ever been able to control Sheldon. Leonard describes her as Sheldon's "kryptonite." Sheldon describes Mary as being a "kind, loving, religiously fanatical, right-wing Texan, with a slightly out of scale head and a mild Dr. Pepper addiction." Sheldon also uses his mother to exact the point that he isn't crazy, as she had him tested. Mary later confirmed the story, although with the caveat that she wished she'd "followed up with that specialist in Houston." It is shown in "The Rhinitis Revelation" that all of the gang like her very much, as she provides the attention and wisdom they did not receive from their own mothers (especially Leonard's mother).
She is called upon by both Leonard and Penny when Sheldon gets particularly difficult to handle.
She is also the complete opposite of Leonard's mother Beverly Hofstadter, who is narcissistic, unfriendly, unloving, unaffectionate, uncaring, and unpopular, and does completely crazy things, like gluing electrodes to people's heads to measure their brain waves while potty training, and their parenting strategies are very different from each other's (Mary having unconditional love for Sheldon, and Beverly raising Leonard as a science experiment and having him try to achieve and having to make him earn her love and affection until after Beverly talks with Sheldon) that their respective sons prefer to have each other's mother for a mother, and the two women don't see eye-to-eye with anything and truly don't like each other.
She is also extremely wise, and has handled situations with Sheldon. During her first meeting with Beverly, she was able to successfully pawn her and make her realize that her parenting skills are crap, which later got Beverly to realize that there is more than one way to raise a child and to make her shower Leonard with unconditional love.
Despite her extremely sweet and compassionate nature compare to most of the cast, Mary can be vicious when pushed - this is seen on several occasions between her and her son. It is seen most prominently when she sends Sheldon to his room, forces him to apologize for his extreme treatment of Penny (in which Leonard refers to Mary as his kryptonite), and memorably butts heads with Beverly Hofstadter. She doesn't suffer strong insults to her religion easily, and when Beverly contemptuously asks her if she could read another book than the Bible, Mary ferociously answers 'When God writes one, I will!' Despite this, it must be noted that, in the latter occasion, Mary was trying to sate a petty argument between Beverly and her ex-husband Alfred.
As revealed by her eldest son George Jr., Mary was never an entirely good mother. This happens when George tells Leonard and the audience that, out of all her children, she is the most proud of Sheldon, even when George made all the sacrifices, took care of Mary and his sister Missy and had a successful business career in running a tire store after building it all on his own from scratch.
In "The Bow Tie Asymmetry", when Mary was talking about Missy in Raj's car, she was not being good at all and at the wedding, Mary and George said nothing to each other and when Mary stood up to applaud Penny for telling Mrs. Fowler to sit back down, Penny crossly tells Mary to sit down as well and leads to Missy smiling at Mary being reprimanded. This sort of behaviour proved that she actually shared with Beverly two traits: Parental favouritism and wanting the children to go into academic careers.
|The Big Bang Theory Episodes|
|Young Sheldon Episodes|
|Appeared||M = Mentioned||Did not appear||Not aired/Not available|
|V = Voiced||C = Cameo||F = Flashback||I = Indirectly mentioned||P = Pictured|
"He gets his temper from his daddy. He’s got my eyes. All that science stuff, oh that comes from Jesus."
―Referring to Sheldon, The Luminous Fish Effect "I love the boy to death, but he has been difficult since he fell out of me at the Kmart."
―Referring to Sheldon, The Luminous Fish Effect "I made chicken. I hope that isn't one of the animals that you people think is magic."
―Talking to Raj, The Luminous Fish Effect "Oh, we will, you have to take your time with Sheldon. His father, God rest his soul, used to say to me, Mary, you have to take your time with Sheldon."
―Referring to Sheldon, The Luminous Fish Effect "Oh, [he was] not so wise. He once tried to fight a bobcat for some licorice."
―Talking about Sheldon's deceased father, The Luminous Fish Effect "You know how your daddy used to say that you could only fish for so long before you gotta throw a stick of dynamite in the water? Well I'm done fishin'!"
―Talking to Sheldon, The Luminous Fish Effect "Leonard, the Lord never gives us more than we can handle. Thankfully, He blessed me with two other children who are dumb as soup."
―Talking about Sheldon, The Luminous Fish Effect "He's not crazy, I had him tested as a child. Although I still feel I should have taken him to that expert in Houston."
―Talking about Sheldon, The Rhinitis Revelation "If I hadn't told my brother Stumpy not to clean the wood chipper by hand we'd still be calling him Edward!"
―Talking to Leonard, The Zazzy Substitution "What about you, Raj, is it? Oh, you still having trouble talking to the ladies? Because you know at our church, we have a woman who's an amazing healer. Mostly she does crutch and wheelchair people, but I bet she'd be willing to take a shot at whatever third world demon is running around inside of you."
―To Raj, The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation
"The Lord giveth and the Lord bloweth away..."
--- Sheldon, referring to his mother's twin passions for God and Guns. The Rhinitis Revelation
- Husband: George Cooper Sr.
- Sons: George Cooper Jr. and Sheldon Cooper
- Daughter: Missy Cooper
- Mother: Meemaw
- Father: Pop-Pop
- Brothers: Carl and Edward
- Grandson: Unnamed (via Missy)
- Son-in-law: Unnamed
- Father-in-law: Mr. Cooper
- Mother-in-law: Mrs. Cooper
- Sister-in-law: Unnamed
- Brother-in-law: Unnamed
Mary loves her son very much, and Sheldon loves his mother back, although Mary can become agitated by her son's rude behavior; she reprimanded Sheldon for hanging Penny's laundry on the telephone wires, scolded him for sexually condemning her. In "The Luminous Fish Effect", Mary said she loves Sheldon to death, but he had been difficult ever since he had fallen out of her at the K-mart. Her constant doting on him is likely the reason behind his antics, arrogance, selfishness and feeling to get whatever he wants.
Mary and her husband George, Sheldon's father, appeared to have had an imploding relationship and marriage. Sheldon claims that they fought all the time. It's revealed in the Season 10 episode "The Hot Tub Contamination" that George Sr. was cheating on her with another woman. Mary was well aware of this but did not seem to mind. In Young Sheldon, Mary and George are instead happily married and fights are only brief and minor ones, which contradicts the cases in TBBT.
Mary's relationship with her other two children is somehow not very much explained. In "The Luminous Fish Effect," Mary describes the two of them to be "dumb as soup." It's possible that she may be on somewhat good terms with Missy as well as her husband and son. She and Missy seem to have a more tense relationship during "The Bow Tie Asymmetry"; however, she appears to not be on good terms with her other son George Jr. as in "The Matrimonial Momentum" as she calls him an idiot and calls his girlfriend a whore. Nevertheless, in "The Sibling Realignment", she told Sheldon that she would only be at his wedding if he invited his brother. George mentioned that even though he sacrificed for the family after his father died and he took care of the house, Mary is more proud of Sheldon than of him, even when he is also a successful businessman. But she still loves her son George Jr. and why she wants Sheldon to invite him to the wedding.
Based on her maturity, reasonable behaviour, and sweet, kind, caring, and loving nature, she appears to be Leonard's female equivalent. Leonard always likes Mary and looks up to her, as he always finds his own mother to be stupid. Mary is essentially the mother Leonard wishes he had. In "The Convergence-Convergence," Mary says that she has always had a special place in her heart for Leonard, taking care of Sheldon for years.
Penny really likes Mary Cooper, as the latter is very caring and sweet compare to many other characters. Penny also called her to tell her that Sheldon threw her clothes up on the telephone wires. When Mary comes for a visit in "The Maternal Combustion", she doesn't hesitate to give Penny a hug.
Mary was first seen with Amy in "The Zazzy Substitution" where she helps Sheldon and Amy get back together after the two had an argument. They weren't seen together again until "The Convergence-Convergence," where Amy and Sheldon picked her up from the airport, where it is revealed that Mary is accepting of Amy and is fond of her, although it had already been revealed in "The Matrimonial Momentum" (S9E1) that Amy was in Mary's nightly prayers and in "The Meemaw Materialization" (S9E14) where Meemaw said that Mary is okay with Amy.
The rest of the group
Howard and Raj both particularly like Mary because she is such a nice woman. In "The Rhinitis Revelation," Mary comforted Raj when he was upset and Howard was always getting along great with her. Mary also liked Howard and was amazed by his impending trip to the International Space Station, commenting on it as "a trip to the heavens."
Mary hadn't been seen with Bernadette and Stuart until the episode "The Conjugal Conjecture," but didn't talk to either of them, although she was shocked by Bernadette's shouting after she did it at Sheldon, and Mary hadn't heard Bernadette's squeaky voice, which was why Bernadette was absent from meeting her in "The Zazzy Substitution" and "The Rhinitis Revelation," which were two episodes Bernadette didn't appear in as a main cast member. It's likely that the two women would have a very good relationship, and Mary would be very sympathetic towards Bernadette and perhaps give her advice about raising children, since Bernadette had to take care of her younger siblings while her mother worked full-time. As for Stuart, it's likely she would have a good relationship with him too. Mary still hasn't met Emily and Leslie.
Mary meets Leonard's mother Beverly Hofstadter and the two very different women started out as being civil, but later quickly came to clash after Beverly insulted Mary's religious beliefs while Mary in return berated Beverly for her cold and distant attitude towards Leonard. The appeared to make up; however, this peace is not maintained. In "The Convergence-Convergence", it turns out that the two women have kept a true dislike of each other and when they meet up again, Mary is not happy to see Beverly again and Mary endś up bonding with Beverly's ex-husband Alfred over their mutual dislike of her and their admiration of each other's beliefs. At the restaurant during the rehearsal dinner, the mothers start a small argument about the Bible and reading other books. Despite the two ladies' different beliefs, personalities and parenting styles, Mary shares with Beverly the habit of having a favorite child (Mary for Sheldon and Beverly for Leonard's brother and sister) and if they're successful. In the Young Sheldon episode "An 8-Bit Princess and a Flat Tire Genius", Mary is not appreciative towards Georgie's new job with tires, instead focusing more on academics, which is what makes her and Beverly similar.
Mary meets Leonard's father Alfred Hofstadter in "The Convergence-Convergence", and the two come quickly to get along great by bonding over their mutual dislike of Beverly and over expressing admiration of each other's beliefs. When they leave the restaurant after fighting with Beverly, they find out they are staying at the same hotel, and they decide to share a cab. Later, their respective sons aren't able to contact them, since they have obviously turned their phones off and are probably hooking up at their hotel. In the next episode, they admit to having not slept together, but plan on still seeing each other.
- Laurie Metcalf was a regular in the sitcom Roseanne, along with Johnny Galecki and Sara Gilbert. She played Sara's character's aunt.
- She played Andy's mom in the Toy Story series which Leonard and Raj are a huge fans of. This creates a celebrity paradox; one of many to occur in this show.
- When Leonard and his friends go to Texas to convince Sheldon to come back home with them, Raj wonders why Howard is wearing a ridiculous-looking cowboy hat he bought at the airport souvenir shop. When Howard says he must blend in, Raj's response is "Blend into what, Toy Story?" Laurie Metcalf voiced Mrs. Davis, the mother of the protagonist toys' owner in that film.
- She also played a love interest for unworldly eccentric physics professor Dick Solomon in Third Rock From The Sun. Sheldon would not have approved: she was an English Literature professor and belonged firmly to the Inhumanities. Even worse than the religion...
- Zoe Perry, who plays the younger version of Mary Cooper on the prequel series Young Sheldon, is the daughter of Laurie Metcalf. By coincidence, Perry also played a younger version of her mother's character in an episode of Roseanne.
- Both Sheldon's and Leonard's mothers are fit for the other: Mary for Leonard and Beverly for Sheldon.
- Due to Sheldon's and Leonard's mothers being fit for the other's child, Sheldon is jealous of Leonard's childhood and Leonard is jealous of Sheldon's childhood.
- In "The Precious Fragmentation" Sheldon says she has a mild Dr. Pepper addiction. Her addiction to caffeine can be observed in "The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation" when she is seen drinking Pepsi.
- While not directly involving the character, In "The Cooper/Kripke Inversion", Sheldon is attempting to avoid going to work by faking illness. Leonard eventually convinces Sheldon to get dressed and get in the car by choosing similar words and a tone of voice Mary would have in the same situation. However, Leonard is unaware of why what he did was so effective.
- It was planned that she would meet Beverly Hofstadter which would have caused mother envy between the two in Season 6, but the idea was dropped when they couldn't get the actresses together at the same time. However, this was then put into action in the penultimate Season 8 episode "The Maternal Combustion".
- Sheldon wants Penny to take care of him like his mother did in "The Pancake Batter Anomaly", by singing to him and rubbing Vapor Rub on his chest. He does the same thing for Amy in "The Fish Guts Displacement".
- Mary has met all of her son's friends, but hadn't been seen with Bernadette and Stuart until "The Conjugal Conjecture", but didn't talk. She also still hasn't met Emily, Leslie or recurring character Claire.
- Mary was the first parent of any main character to appear in the series.
- Sheldon once stated "Mom smokes in the car, but we can't tell Dad.", implying that Mary does or used to smoke secretly in the car and not tell her husband George about it, and presumably Sheldon must have somehow accidentally found out about it and Mary made him keep it a secret.
- Mary and her husband George Cooper Sr. were unhappily married for a long time. They never got divorced, but they usually stay for the kids. Mostly George had a lot of affairs behind Mary's back, even though Mary was aware of it.
- Mary had George Jr at 24 years old and had Sheldon and Missy at 29 years old. Rumor that she had George out of wedlock, so she had premarital sex.
- Mary's comment to Sheldon before his wedding inspired his and Amy's Super Asymmetry theory, for which they received the Nobel Prize.
- Throughout Season 12, Mary is frequently mentioned, but does not appear.
- Mary Cooper on IMDb
Young Sheldon Characters, Cast & Crew
|Main Characters||Main||Sheldon Cooper ‧ Mary Cooper ‧ George Cooper Sr. ‧ George Cooper Jr. ‧ Missy Cooper ‧ Meemaw ‧ Jeff Difford|
|Recurring and Minor Characters||Tam Nguyen ‧ Veronica Duncan ‧ Billy Sparks ‧ Brenda Sparks ‧ Herschel Sparks ‧ Victoria McElroy ‧ Evelyn Ingram ‧ Wayne Wilkins ‧ Hubert Givens ‧ Sheryl Hutchins ‧ Gene Lundy ‧ Tom Petersen ‧ Le Nguyen ‧ Trang Nguyen ‧ Mai Nguyen ‧ Kim-Ly Nguyen ‧ John Sturgis ‧ Paige Swanson ‧ Barry Swanson ‧ Linda Swanson ‧ Erica Swanson ‧ Dale Ballard ‧ Selena ‧ Robin Difford ‧ Jana|
|Cast||Regulars||Iain Armitage ‧ Zoe Perry ‧ Lance Barber ‧ Montana Jordan ‧ Raegan Revord ‧ Annie Potts ‧ Matt Hobby ‧ Jim Parsons|
|Recurring||Ryan Phuong ‧ Isabel May ‧ Wyatt McClure ‧ Melissa Peterman ‧ Billy Gardell ‧ Valerie Mahaffey ‧ Danielle Pinnock ‧ Doc Farrow ‧ Brian Stepanek ‧ Sarah Baker ‧ Rex Linn ‧ Wallace Shawn ‧ McKenna Grace ‧ Craig T. Nelson ‧ Ava Allan ‧ Jason Alexander|
|As Selves||Elon Musk|
|Crew||Writers||Chuck Lorre * (Creator) ‧ Steven Molaro * (Creator)|
|* also as Producer||Young Sheldon : Full cast & crew on IMDb|