01 June 2013

Jean Stapleton, Who Played Edith Bunker, Dies 1JUN13

JEAN STAPLETON died today, 1 JUN 13. She was Edith, the "dingbat", Archie's wife on All In The Family. I loved that show, it was so very controversial for it's time, it made people aware of and discuss different aspects on war, racism, women's rights, patriotism, gays, abortion, divorce, rape, religion and a lot of other things. the show made you angry, and howl with laughter and cry. My good friend Russ has referred to my parents as Archie and Edith for years, and they in turn have called him Meathead. This from NPR, and if I can find the clip I mention in my comments on the NPR page I will post it here....
You could have done much better choosing a clip from the show to honor Edith. My choice would have been when they took the trip to the hotel where they spent their honeymoon. Though there was a bit of tension between them in the room because of Archie's usual self-centeredness, in the end he did profess his love for her and the scene closed with them dancing only as people in love can. Thank you for the laughter and the tears Edith, and may you rest in peace Ms Stapleton.
Jean Stapleton as Edith Bunker and Carroll O'Connor as Archie Bunker on the CBS TV series All in the Family in 1976. Stapleton died Friday at 90.
Jean Stapleton, best known for her iconic role as Edith Bunker in the 1970s TV series All in the Family, has died, her family tells The Los Angeles TimesTMZ and The Hollywood Reporter.
"She had been a veteran of stage, film and television when she was cast in the CBS sitcom opposite Carroll O'Connor's loud-mouthed, bigoted Archie Bunker, who often addressed her as 'dingbat.' She won three Emmys for the role.
"'The benign, compassionate presence she developed made my egregious churl bearable,' O'Connor wrote of Stapleton in his 1998 autobiography. He died in 2001."
Stapleton was 90.
Stapleton, seen here in 2000, said she became somewhat of an activist when she moved out to Los Angeles.
Brenda Chase/Getty Images
In an interview with the Archive of American Television, Stapleton said before she took the Edith Bunker role, she was "apolitical."
But surrounded by activists in Los Angeles, things changed.
"I began to get a little educated and became somewhat of an activist," she said.
Her character became an icon of the women's rights movement. Activists took out an ad calling Edith Bunker a second-class citizen. The series also took on bigotry. Edith was the tolerant one and her husband was the bigot.
In the interview with the archive, Stapleton said the series uncovered bigotry through humor.
"Humor reduces it to nothing," she said.
We'll leave you with one of the iconic scenes of the show, when Archie and Edith show up to Lionel Jefferson's engagement party. Lionel, their neighbor's son, was engaged to a woman whose father is white and mother is black:
Update at 6:17 p.m. ET: Rob Reiner And Norman Lear Statements:
Rob Reiner, who played the Bunkers' liberal son-in-law on All in the Family, issued this statement about Stapleton's death:
"Jean was a brilliant comedienne with exquisite timing. Working with her was one of the greatest experiences of my life. My thoughts are with her family."
Norman Lear, who wrote and produced the sitcom, said Stapleton helped him to see his own "frailties and humanity." In a statement, he continued:
"No one gave more profound 'How to be a Human Being' lessons than Jean Stapleton. Goodbye Edith, darling."