Jackie Kennedy reads to her daughter, Caroline, in Hyannis Port, Mass., in 1960.
Jackie Kennedy reads to her daughter, Caroline, in Hyannis Port, Mass., in 1960.Alfred Eisenstaedt—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Jackie Kennedy reads to her daughter, Caroline, in Hyannis Port, Mass., in 1960.
Judy Garland holds her daughter, Liza, at home in Hollywood in 1946.
Elizabeth Taylor on the set of Cleopatra with her daughter, Elizabeth Frances, in Rome in 1962.
Elizabeth Taylor and her mother, Sara, in 1948.
Shirley MacLaine and her daughter, Sachi Parker, in 1959.
The great American contralto Marian Anderson kisses her mother after a concert in Philadelphia in 1937.
Burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee holds her 4-year-old son, Erik Lee Kirkland, during a stopover in her traveling carnival show, Memphis, Tenn., 1949.
Shirley Temple with her daughter, Lori, in Atherton, California, in 1957.
Ingrid Bergman and her daughter, Pia Lindstrom, in 1959.
Sophia Loren with her son, Carlo Ponti, Jr., in 1969.
Sophia Loren (right) poses with her mother (center) and her sister, Maria, in 1957.
Zsa Zsa Gabor and her daughter, Francesca, at home in Bel Air, 1951.
Actress Joan Crawford and her two adopted children on the beach, Monterey, California, 1945.
Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy with her children, 1961.
Jane Fonda and her daughter, Vanessa, in California, 1971.
Nancy Reagan with Ron Reagan in Pacific Palisades, Calif., in 1965.
Natalie Wood and her mother at home, 1945.
Peggy Lee gets a goodnight kiss from her 4-year-old daughter Nicki, 1948.
Mia Farrow reads to her children on Martha's Vineyard in 1974.
Jackie Kennedy reads to her daughter, Caroline, in Hyannis Port, Mass., in 1960.
Alfred Eisenstaedt—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Mother's Day Special: LIFE With Famous Moms

May 10, 2012

Madre. Maman. Mãe. Oma. Inay. Mutter. Mum. Mor. Mama. However you say it, in whatever language, the word for "mother" has a thousand and one subtle variations, most of which usually translate, at one time or another, into something like: "Thanks for everything, mom."

Here, on Mother's Day weekend, LIFE.com offers a selection of portraits of famous moms (Jackie Kennedy, Shirley MacLaine) with their kids, famous kids (Liz Taylor, Sophia Loren) with their moms and, in a few instances, famous kids with their famous moms.

[See TIME.com's "Top 10 Movie Moms We Wish Were Ours."]

The focus of the gallery, however, is most decidedly not meant to suggest that famous moms are any more worthy of notice than any other mothers anywhere in the world who feed, clothe, encourage, protect, challenge and, ultimately, unconditionally love their children. Rather, this gallery is, quite frankly, a simple acknowledgement that, like most everybody else, we're more or less fascinated by fame.

"Let me tell you about the very rich," F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote. "They are different from you and me." An observation to which he might well have added: "And the famous? They're a whole lot stranger."

But whether rich or famous (or neither); whether strange or perfectly, unpretentiously, refreshingly normal, moms deserve recognition simply because — as all of us will readily admit in our more brutally honest moments — moms rule the world. And while devoting one measly day a year to celebrating and honoring mothers everywhere might be a rather feeble way to express our gratitude and love . . . not to worry. They're moms. They understand.

Still, would it kill you to pick up the phone once in a while?

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

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