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Esther Cobblepot was the mother of Oswald Cobblepot, who terrorized Gotham City as the "Penguin" in adulthood.


Early Life

Esther was the wife of Tucker Cobblepot. She was said to have been an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Her maiden name was unknown and she likely came from a family in Gotham's high society as she married into the Cobblepot Family, who were known for wealth that was on par with the Wayne Family.

Abandoning Oswald

Esther gave birth to Oswald, who was monstrously deformed, to her great surprise at the moment of his birth at Cobblepot Manor. Esther and Tucker had trouble accepting Oswald and did not believe that Gotham's high society would welcome him. Oswald's abuse of the family cat confirmed in Esther and Tucker's minds that Oswald had the mannerisms of a feral animal and got rid of him by pushing his baby carriage into a drainage stream into the sewer. Esther and Tucker then looked with sorrow after they dumped Oswald. The carriage then floated into Arctic World of the Old Zoo, where Oswald was discovered by Emperor Penguins and was raised by zookeepers, presumably.

Mysterious death

"I think he knows who his parents are. There's something else."
―Batman to Alfred[src]

Esther, along with Tucker, died at a relatively young age, under mysterious circumstances.[1]

Oswald later made a public show of placing roses on Esther and Tucker's gravestone in order to show that he had forgiven them both. Whether or not Oswald truly had some depth of feeling during that charade was unclear. The public ate it up, but Batman started to see through Oswald and speculated that he knew who his parents were all along.

Behind the Scenes

The name Esther originated from the script, as well as her DAR activity. It was implied that Oswald may have returned and murdered Esther and Tucker years earlier. Tim Burton selected Diane Salinger for the role of Esther to compliment Paul Reubens' cameo as Tucker.


  • Esther's name was seen on her headstone and was bylined on newspaper props.
  • Diane Salinger played Esther Cobblepot. That marked the second time in a Tim Burton production that Diane Salinger and Paul Reubens played a couple. The first time was in Pee Wee's Big Adventure, when Salinger played Simone, the truck stop waitress and Reubens played Pee Wee Herman. Reubens reprised the role of Penguin's Father in Gotham.
  • Esther would be adapted by Telltale Games into their Batman series. However, her character was drastically altered and her abandonment of Oswald is unwilling.


  1. Batman Returns (Novelization) chapter 12, page 67.