Deborah "Debbie" Melvina Wolowitz (most often known and credited as Mrs. Wolowitz) was the mother of Howard Wolowitz and the mother-in-law of Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz. She is a minor off-screen character from The Big Bang Theory.
She was portrayed by the late Carol Ann Susi.
Debbie said she used to be quite a beauty in her younger days. She got big with age and apparently growing a bit of a mustache.
After her husband Sam has abandoned her, she seems to be more insecure about her self-confidence. She seems to be quite lonely with her son, who she affectionately calls Howie, being the center of most of her life. She and Howard don't get along, and sometimes Howard wants to leave the house; she always belittling him and treat him like dirt.
While she appears to be loud, overbearing, and lonely, she is not only a nice and well-meaning person but a loving motherly figure to not only her son but also his friends. This was seen when she allowed Stuart into her home after being nearly rendered homeless, and they bonded. All of the others were saddened by her death paid tribute to her. Before her death, she did approve of Howard's fiance and later his wife Bernadette, and they bonded enough that she picked up her mannerisms.
She is mostly off-screen, only her voice is heard. However, there are photographs of her on the wall in Howard's house. There are quick glimpses of her in the few episodes, The Countdown Reflection has her watching Howard and Bernadette's wedding on the rooftop of the apartment and The Spoiler Alert Segmentation where she is seen passing through the open kitchen door, and her arms are shown when she grabs Raj back into the house through a open window as he is trying to escape.
Since The Habitation Configuration, Howard no longer lives in his mother's house, having moved out to live with Bernadette as husband and wife; however, he and Bernadette continue to sleep over there from time to time to give her company and remind her that she is not alone.
In The Thanksgiving Decoupling, the gang is fixing Thanksgiving dinner at the Wolowitz house. Debbie is not feeling well and in the basement. She can be heard every time food is mentioned. Raj does fix her annual tur-briske-fil".
In The Cooper Extraction, the group is considering what their lives would have been like if Sheldon weren't in them. If Howard had not found Bernadette, he thinks his mother would have ended up as a skeleton in the house and he would have assumed her personality like Norman Bates in Psycho. Amy, confused, asks if either Debbie died of starvation or Howard killed her. Howard shrugs it off and responds that it doesn't matter; "the important thing is she's dead."
Since The Gorilla Dissolution ,Mrs. Wolowitz is forced by her doctor to take exercise and Howard, Bernadette and Raj bring up an exercise machine to be set up in Howard's old room. But Howard accidentally lets go of the box, causing it to fall down the stairs and injure Mrs. Wolowitz, fracturing her leg. As a result, Howard and Bernadette had to wait hand and foot to take care of Debbie which tires them out and her nurses ending up quitting due to Debbie's verbal abuse. It isn't until Stuart moved in due to his comic book store being burnt down, and they get along with each other quite well.
In The Comic Book Store Regeneration, Mrs. Wolowitz flies to Florida to visit Gladys and passes away in her sleep whilst over there. The news struck Howard hard as the gang comfort him. Howard and Bernadette fly to Florida for her funeral and when returning home, the airline loses Howard's mother's urn that was packed in their luggage but by the end of the episode it is returned to the airport.
With that, Howard moves back into the house and takes full ownership.
Debbie makes an off-screen cameo in the episode A Swedish Science Thing and the Equation for Toast calling out to a young Howard to turn off his game and go to sleep.
- Due to her actress Carol Ann Susi passing away from cancer, the writers had the character die in the series.
- In her cameo in the episode "A Swedish Science Thing and the Equation for Toast" from Young Sheldon, archive footage of her late actress screaming "Howard!" was used with Pamela Adlon providing new dialogue.