• Jean Stapleton, who entered the nation's consciousness as Archie Bunker's "dingbat" wife Edith in the groundbreaking 1970s TV series "All In The Family," has passed away. She was 90. Beyond "All In The Family," Stapleton had a long and distinguished career on the stage and screen and was highly respected as an accomplished and versatile actress, which gave her both the talent and the technique to move from comedy to tragedy on the show, portraying Edith at various times as grappling with menopause, rape and breast cancer.
- KC's View:
- Unlike a lot of TV icons, Stapleton was able to both create an indelible character and transcend it, crafting for herself a diverse career after she left the series, doing movies, theater and TV, never wanting for work. (I vividly remember her small role in You've Got Mail, in which she seemed completely believable as a woman who had once had an affair with Francisco Franco.
And yet, we'll always remember her as Edith, who sometimes seemed clueless but somehow provided the moral center for the series, making the bigoted Archie tolerable because she loved him.
Klute, a Jane Fonda-Donald Sutherland thriller, came out at the same time as "All In The Family," and Stapleton had a small role in the movie. When she came on, I remember, the audience erupted in laughter at a totally inappropriate moment, simply because from the moment she appeared on TV as Edith, she was indelible.