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Rosie O’Donnell’s 5 most memorable prime-time appearances

Actress Rosie O'Donnell played Rita Hendricks, a tough

Actress Rosie O'Donnell played Rita Hendricks, a tough but compassionate foster-care worker in "The Fosters." Credit: ABC Family / Kelsey McNeal

Commack’s own Rosie O’Donnell returns to TV Sunday as the mother of a South Boston single mom (played by Frankie Shaw) in Showtime’s new quirky comedy, “SMILF.” While O’Donnell may be best known for her stand-up comedy and talk shows, she has made her share of prime-time series appearances over the years. Take these five:

GIMME A BREAK (1986-87) O’Donnell showed up in the series’ sixth and final season as Maggie O’Brien, the dental hygienist neighbor of Nell (Nell Carter) in New York City.

STAND BY YOUR MAN (1992) In this short-lived Fox comedy, O’Donnell co-starred with Melissa Gilbert Brinkman as sisters who moved in together after both of their husbands were sent to prison.

WILL & GRACE (2002) O’Donnell had a memorable guest turn as Bonnie, the mother of Jack’s (Sean Hayes) son Elliot (Michael Angarano). (When Jack was 17, he donated sperm to the clinic where Bonnie worked as a nurse. Bonnie’s biological clock was ticking, so she took Jack’s sperm and later gave birth to Elliot.)

NIP/TUCK (2006-08) O’Donnell made four guest appearances in the plastic-surgery drama as Dawn Budge, a newly wealthy woman (she won the lottery) who gets a complete makeover — new breasts, face and derrière.

THE FOSTERS (2014-16) In the ABC Family/Freeform series about a lesbian couple who are raising a blended family of biological, adoptive and foster kids, O’Donnell played Rita Hendricks, a tough but compassionate foster-care worker.


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