10 Famous Housekeepers from TV and Movies
When you think of a housekeeper, what comes to mind? For me, I can’t help but think of a housekeeper’s uniform – specifically a black housemaid’s dress with a white apron. I’m not sure why this comes to mind! It is likely that I saw this uniform as a child, perhaps on TV or in a movie and it has stuck in my memory. TV and movies have the power to shape how we think and what will come to mind when we think about certain topics.
Housekeepers and their uniforms have featured popular culture throughout the ages. In recent decades they have been most prominent on TV and in movies, especially with the creation of period dramas such as Downton Abbey and modern drama series like Devious Maids.
Here, we look at 10 famous housekeepers - and their uniforms - that have featured in TV series and on the silver screen:
Rosario – Will and Grace
Rosario is Karen’s housekeeper in the TV show, ‘Will and Grace’. She has a feisty nature with a sharp wit that helps her to put up with Karen! Rosario is usually seen wearing a grey, blue or beige housekeeping dress with white collars and cuffs. Rosario is often seen wearing a fashionable casual jacket over the top of her uniform.
Mrs. Doubtfire – of the movie of the same name
The late, great Robin Williams played Mrs. Doubtfire – a character who has made a huge impact on popular culture since the movie was released. Mrs. Doubtfire wears a few different outfits but the prominent combinations are a black skirt with either a plain blouse and a printed tunic/patterned cardigan, or a printed blouse and a white apron.
Dorota – Gossip Girl
Dorota is the maid at the Waldorf residence in the TV show, ‘Gossip Girl’. She is patient and is a reliable source of support for Blair. Dorota can keep a secret and is sassy when she needs to be. She is usually seen in a black housekeeping dress with a white lace collar, cuffs and tie-apron.
Daphne – Frasier
Daphne is the live-in housekeeper for the Crane household and provides physical therapy for Martin Crane. Somewhat eccentric herself, Daphne is accustomed to the often clashing personalities of the Crane brothers and their father. Unlike many on-screen housekeepers, Daphne doesn’t wear a specific uniform. She is often seen wearing casual trousers with a practical casual top or a blouse.
Magda – Sex and The City
Magda is employed as a housekeeper and nanny by Miranda. She is patient and hard-working, often acting like a mother figure to Miranda and sometimes disapproving of Miranda’s modern, independent lifestyle. Magda often wears casual, practical trousers with a printed blouse and plain cardigan.
Alice – The Brady Bunch
The late Ann Bradford Davis played Alice in the 1960s TV show, ‘The Brady Bunch’. Alice is the live-in housekeeper employed by Mike Brady. Her role becomes more challenging when Mike Brady marries Carol Martin, meaning there is a total of 6 children in the household! She is usually seen wearing a blue housekeeping dress with a white tie-on apron.
Mrs. Hughes – Downton Abbey
Mrs. Hughes is the head housekeeper in period drama, ‘Downton Abbey’. Adopting the title of ‘Mrs.’ because she felt it was more fitting for her senior role, Mrs. Hughes later becomes Mrs. Carson when she marries the household butler. Mrs. Hughes is typically seen wearing a patterned blouse underneath a textured black dress with a belt.
Marisa – Maid in Manhattan
As a cheesy romcom, this movie is like marmite – you either love it, or hate it! Jennifer Lopez stars as Marisa, a hotel maid is mistaken for a socialite by a politician who then falls in love with her. As romcoms go, it isn’t one of the best rated but it often comes to mind when you think about housekeeping and housemaid uniforms on the silver screen. Marisa is usually seen wearing a grey housekeeping dress with a white collar, cuffs and a white tie-on apron.
Hazel – of the TV series of the same name
Hazel is the main character of the 1960s TV series, ‘Hazel’. She is a live-in housemaid for the Baxter family and is a strong character who runs the household confidently. Hazel is usually seen wearing a blue or pink housekeeping dress with a white collar, cuffs and tie-apron.
Marisol – Devious Maids
Marisol is the main character of the contemporary TV show, ‘Devious Maids’. Following a murder which her son is blamed for, Marisol decides to go undercover as a domestic maid to find out what secrets she can unearth. When undercover, Marisol usually wears a dark blue or black housekeeping dress with white collar, cuffs and tie-on apron.
While the portrayal of housekeepers and housemaids through the decades has changed, their clothing has remained remarkably similar. Many on-screen housekeepers wear a formal uniform comprised of a housekeeping dress and tie-on apron, while others – usually those with additional responsibilities such as childcare – opt for casual, practical clothing which may include some formal wear such as a blouse. Whatever they wear, housekeepers have featured at the heart of many stories played out on the TV and movie screens and will likely to continue to do so in future decades.