When producers of The Big Bang Theory spoke with The Hollywood Reporter in December, they admitted there were several loose ends the show had yet to tie up. Over eight-and-a-half seasons, many characters had been discussed but never seen: Penny’s mother, Howard’s father, Leonard’s father, and Sheldon’s Meemaw—his beloved grandmother.
Now, Entertainment Weekly has learned that June Squibb has been cast to play Sheldon’s Meemaw, which means Big Bang Theory fans will finally catch a glimpse of the woman so close to his heart. EW had no details about the storyline, but revealed Squibb will appear in a February episode.
In the past two years, Sheldon has reached several personal milestones. He almost proposed to his girlfriend Amy, they broke up, and then reunited and consummated their relationship. During Season 8’s Christmas episode, Sheldon resented having to attend Amy’s Christmas party, so tried to make her feel guilty by getting her the perfect gift. Unbeknownst to him, she had already reciprocated, by making his Meemaw’s Christmas cookies. Sheldon said, “It tastes like her hugs.”
June Squibb, although her name may not be familiar to most Big Bang Theory fans, has a long career in theater, television, and film. The 86-year-old received her first Academy Award nomination for 2013’s Nebraska and told The Guardian that her upbringing in southeastern Illinois was not that different from that movie.
“It was a normal small town of about 5-6,000 people, and I had lots and lots of friends, I was a cheerleader and a majorette and all those things you’d expect of a girl in the 30s and 40s. But the thing I always thought of myself as was an actress. I never thought: ‘I want to be.’ It was always: ‘I am.’ I felt that from an early age, and I always thought perhaps I don’t really belong here.”
After many decades as a theater actress, Squibb first appeared on film in 1990’s Alice—less than three decades ago. She has been in movies such as In and Out and Scent of a Woman, and has had guest spots in numerous television series including Judging Amy and Ghost Whisperer.
The Big Bang Theory won’t be Squibb’s first appearance on a Chuck Lorre-produced series. She’s also done guest spots on Mom, Mike & Molly, and Two and a Half Men.
Fans of the show might want to speculate in what capacity Sheldon’s Meemaw will finally appear. Sheldon’s mother, played by Laurie Metcalf, frequently comes to California from Texas to visit. His sister, Missy, also appeared in an early episode of the series. In a Season 4 episode, Sheldon revealed in a conversation with Leonard that after his grandfather died, his mother arranged for his Meemaw to attend a seniors’ center, which he denied was a “home.” So, the storyline might involve a trip for the guys out to Houston, Sheldon’s hometown.
In that Hollywood Reporter interview, producer Steven Molaro seemed to promise that Sheldon’s Meemaw is not the only heretofore unseen character that will make an appearance before the end of Season 10—the show has already been renewed for another year after the one currently airing.
“There are still a lot of characters out there in this world that we’ve never met that I’m still excited, over the next season and a half, to get a chance to do something about. We’ve never met Penny’s mom, Leonard’s dad, Sheldon’s Meemaw or Howard’s dad — and that’s a big tentpole that’s still floating out there.”
The Big Bang Theory airs Thursday nights on CBS.
[Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images Entertainment]