The woman best known as Edith Bunker in All in the Family is part of the passing parade. Jean Stapleton was part of modern Hollywood royalty. Her sis Maureen was an Oscar-winning actress. Her brother, Jack Stapleton, was a stage actor.
JEAN STAPLETON ARCHIE & EDITH BUNKER
At age 18, Jean began her career in 1941 in summer stock and made her New York debut in American Gothic, an Off-Broadway play. She was featred on Broadway in several hit musicals, such as Damn Yankees, Funny Girl, and Bells Are Ringing. She would reprise her role in Damn Yankees in the motion picture production.
Her early work on television included roles in Starlight Theater, Lux Video Theater, Robert Montgomery Presents, The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse, Dr. Kildare, Car 54 Where Are You, The Patty Duke Show, Dennis the Menace, and Naked City. On an episode of The Defenders broadcast in 1962, Jean Stapleton guest-starred with her future on-screen husband Carroll O’Connor. After her success in All in the Family, she sometimes returned to the small screen with roles in Touched By an Angel, Murphy Brown, Scarecrow and Mrs King, and Everybody Loves Raymond. For her efforts as Edith Bunker, she received three Emmys and two Golden Globes. She reprised the role for one season on the spinoff, Archie Bunker’s Place.
Other works in cinema include appearances Klute, You’ve Got Mail, and Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World. She was offered a chance to appear in the feature, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but declined because it coincided with the production of the All in the Family pilot. In 1982, Stapleton played Eleanor Roosevelt in a television production of the First Lady’s later life. In 1998, and for a few years afterward, Stapleton took her Eleanor characterization to live theaters, now adapted as a one-woman show.
Jean Stapleton was 90.
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