Memorable ”Will & Grace” guest stars: Suzanne Pleshette
The casting directors on W&G have had a spectacular eye when it comes to picking actors to play the stars’ parents, including Debbie Reynolds and Alan Arkin as Grace’s folks and Blythe Danner and Sydney Pollack as Will’s. So it was with Pleshette, who appeared as Karen’s estranged con-artist mom (in a 2002 two-parter and again in 2004). Pleshette’s low rasp makes a fine counterpart to Mullally’s squeak, and her character’s manipulative streak and blithe self-absorption — she sees her wealthy daughter as her ticket out of a barmaid job in Yonkers — explain a lot about the origins of Karen’s chirpy callousness. Plus, it takes a big personality to make the broad, irrepressible Karen look like a trembling little girl.