“All In The Family” Star Jean Stapleton Dies at Age 90
Jean Stapleton, the warmhearted mother, Edith Bunker, from the amazing show All in The Family, died Friday May 31, 2013 at her home in New York City. David Shaul, Stapleton’s agent, confirmed the stars death.
According to The New York Times Online, Stapleton, along with Mary Tyler Moore and Bea Arthur, became the first symbols of feminism in American popular culture. Stapleton was an accomplished theater actress, with only a few small television roles. These seemingly small television roles turned Stapleton into a household name, and gave her nationwide recognition.
All In The Family, went through many struggles, before becoming the show we know today. The show was originally supposed to be based on an English television show called, Till Death Do Us Part, which also contained a married couple with seemingly racist views. The show shot three separate pilot episodes, went through many different name changes, and struggled to find its target audience. Eventually everything worked out perfectly, the talented Jean Stapleton was chosen as Edith Bunker.
Norman Lear Responds to “All In The Family” Star Jean Stapleton’s Death
Norman Lear, producer of All In The Family
, first discovered Stapleton, when she was working as a theater actress, performing in the musical, “Damn Yankees.” He asked her to audition for his new series. According to The New York Times Online, that audition changed Stapleton’s life forever, as the character Edith Bunker was born.
Norman Lear reacted to the news of Stapleton’s passing, in a report by E! Online. “This will be short and sweet. Never as sweet as I’d wish it to be if I took a month to write it. I only just learned that Jean Stapleton, our beloved Edith—or Edith, our beloved Jean Stapleton—has passed.”
Lear did not stop with that simple comment. He continued to explain how Stapleton impacted his life, throughout their friendship.
“Back in 1971, possibly the first time I was asked by a journalist ‘”What is Jean Stapleton like?” my reflexive response was: ‘She’s always where she is.’ I was surprised by my answer, never had the thought before and never knew it resided within me. Can I reach deeply enough inside me now to express how much that, the idea and Jean Stapleton herself has meant to me? I was at my computer when her glorious children, John and Pam, phoned me, and I told them I was working on my memoir, and reflecting on the time I was father to my personal family on Mooncrest Drive while also fathering Archie and Edith and three other families on CBS. And I added—so, at 90, here still is Jean Stapleton, “always where she is,” helping me to see my own frailties and humanity yet again. No one gave more profound “How to be a Human Being” lessons than Jean Stapleton. Goodbye Edith, darling.”