This month, we’ll all be celebrating Mother’s Day, which means it’s time for the rundown of famous Westchester mothers. Sure, veritable hordes of rich, famous, and influential women have raised families here, and more than a few of our county’s anonymous families have produced decidedly non-anonymous kids. But Westchester mothers who are famous themselves and whose children are famous, too? Well, we’ve even got those.
Sarah Livingston Jay—As the daughter of a New Jersey governor and wife of first Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay, Katonah’s Sarah Livingston Jay easily could be considered a “Founding Mother” and was famous in her own right. In addition, her son, William Jay, was a prominent abolitionist, founder of the American Bible Society, Federalist politician, and judge in Westchester for 25 years.
Mary Cheever—Cheever is perhaps best known as the wife of novelist John Cheever (and less known as the granddaughter of Thomas Watson, who co-invented the telephone), but the Ossining resident is also an accomplished poet, painter, and teacher. Her children include authors Ben Cheever (who still lives in Pleasantville) and Susan Cheever.
Judy Garland—The Wizard of Oz star and mother of Oscar- and (multiple) Tony-winner Liza Minnelli lived with her daughter in Scarsdale toward the end of her life and is buried at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale.
Linda McCartney—The former Linda Eastman, a photographer, musician, animal-rights activist, bestselling cookbook author, successful entrepreneur, and, oh yeah, wife of a songwriter from one of those British sixties boy bands—lived on Dolma Road in Scarsdale, graduated from Scarsdale High School, and attended Sarah Lawrence for a time. As if that weren’t enough, her daughter (one of her four children) is famed fashion designer Stella McCartney.
Yoko Ono—Apparently, Scarsdale is a breeding ground for Beatle wives. Like Linda McCartney, Yoko Ono lived in Scarsdale (after emigrating from Japan) and attended Sarah Lawrence without graduating. The late John Lennon’s wife and soul mate, an avant-garde artist and musician, is also the mother of musician Sean Lennon.
Eve Ensler—The Vagina Monologues playwright was born in Scarsdale and moved back after college; she was later married to the father of actor Dylan McDermott, whom she adopted when he was 15. “Being Dylan’s mother has been the greatest thing in my life,” Ensler says.
Joan Crawford—We’re not so sure we’re proud of this one: the Oscar winner lived in Scarsdale with her last husband. Her daughter, wire-hanger enthusiast, actress, and author Christina, wrote the famous tell-all Mommie Dearest, a book that probably puts Crawford on the list of infamous Westchester mothers as well.