250px-stella baines
Stella Baines
Biographical information
Date of birth1915
Age (1931)16
Age (1955)40
Age (1985)70
Age (2015)100
Physical description
Hair colorBrown
Eye color(on-screen) Brown

(in novelization) Pale blue

Behind-the-scenes information
Played byFrances Lee McCain
" "How's the patient?" Stella Baines asked as she entered the room. Then, looking around, she added: "Where's the patient?" / Marty looked up [from the floor] over the edge of the bed. Stella Baines, forty, his grandmother-to-be, stared back at him. She was pregnant and looked terribly young. If Marty remembered correctly, she was carrying her last child, the one born after Uncle Joey the jailbird. She had the same pleasant eyes as when she was older, very pale blue and rather sad. / "Marty, this is my mother," Lorraine said, tossing him his shirt. "
—From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, page 103)
Stella: "You know, Marty, you look so familiar. Do I know your mother?"
Marty: "Yeah, I think maybe you do."
— Stella asking Marty about himself.

Stella Baines was the wife of Sam Baines and the mother of six children, including their oldest daughter, Lorraine.


On the morning of November 5, 1955, Stella was at home when she heard her husband calling from the street. Sam had been driving home when, he said, "another one of these damn kids jumped in front of the car". Sam's car had knocked down a pedestrian, but fortunately the young man didn't seem to be injured. As such, they took him into the house so that he could rest, and placed him in Lorraine's bedroom. In accordance with the first aid of the time, Mr. and Mrs. Baines "loosened" the young man's clothing and kept him warm with a blanket. By now, Lorraine had taken an interest in the stranger, noticing that he wore purple underwear with the name "Calvin Klein" written several times on the outside. At that time, it was common for kids' names to be sewn on clothing when they went to summer camp and, although the identification seemed excessive, a name could be associated with their teenage guest. Calvin slept for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening.

Lorraine, of course, was not supposed to go alone into the room while Calvin was sleeping. Stella was cooking meat loaf for dinner when she heard noise upstairs, and yelled "Lorraine, are you up there?" As it turned out, the stranger was finally awake. Stella waited upstairs with Lorraine, giving the boy (whose name turned out to be not Calvin but Marty) some privacy while he got dressed. The three of them came downstairs together and Stella asked about the life preserver that Marty was wearing over his clothes. Marty, who thankfully wasn't badly hurt, claimed to be a member of the Coast Guard. It was clear, however, that he hadn't had a haircut in awhile. Stella welcomed Marty to stay for dinner, and introduced her family to him. Stella couldn't quite place whom Marty resembled, but he looked very familiar. He claimed that she did indeed know his mother, but when she suggested calling, Marty said that "Nobody's home... yet." It seemed clear that, since Marty's parents were out of town, he should spend the night at the Baines home. When Lorraine ventured that he could sleep in her room, Marty seemed to get upset, got up in the middle of dinner, mumbled his thanks, and left. Sam grumbled that the boy was an idiot. Lorraine seemed to have a crush on him. "He's a very strange young man," Stella mused.

The following Saturday, Marty was polite enough to take Lorraine to the Enchantment Under the Sea dance. That same evening, a bottle was missing from her personal liquor cabinet; she had warned Lorraine many times not to copy her drinking habit, and she also kept warning her to stop smoking. Although Lorraine had left the house with Marty, she was brought home by George McFly instead, and she never went out with Marty again.


Stella in 1972.

In 1972A, Sam and Stella were present when their daughter Lorraine was awarded the 1972 'Mother of the Year' award. The event was being hosted at Biff Tannen's recently built mansion, Tannen Manor. Stella did not appreciate Biff's taste in decorating, remarking that it could have used "more of a woman's touch".



Behind the scenes[]

  • Television actress Frances Lee McCain was 40 years old when the "Dinner at the Baines house" scene was filmed. She played Zach Galligan's mother in the 1984 hit Gremlins (which was also filmed at Universal Studios' Courthouse Square). She was the mother on the short-lived CBS family drama Apple's Way from 1974 to 1976. According to her imdb.com biography, in a 1970s Los Angeles run of the stage play A Streetcar Named Desire, McCain actually played the role of Stella Kowalski (opposite Jon Voight as Stanley). Sam Baines, of course, yells "Stella!" after hitting Marty with the car, in what appears to be an homage to Streetcar.
  • In the novelization, Stella Baines's eyes are pale blue (see first Quote above) and not brown as they are on-screen.
  • Her name was done in reference to the character of the same name in the 1947 play A Streetcar Named Desire.