Yesterday one of the true television icons passed into immortality. In 1971, Norman Lear launched a show that would change the face of television “All in the Family” Carroll O Connor played the opinionated Archie Bunker and the beloved Jean Stapleton played his loving, dimwitted but well meaning wife, Edith. Jean Stapleton passed away from natural causes at the age of 90 in New York City.
Born Jeanne Murray on January 19, 1923, even though an accomplished theatre actress and fixture in the golden age of television, Jean will be most known for the role that endeared her to millions, Edith Baines Bunker. Earlier Jean was “on the boards” in the George Abbott musical , “Damn Yankees.” “Bells Are Ringing” and the original Broadway production of “Funny Girl.” She reprised her role in the movie version of the musical. A surprising fact is that in 1962, Jean was an unknown actress on the television series , “The Defenders.” As a witness she pointed her finger at the murderer who turned out to be her future husband, Carroll O ‘ Connor. Jean’s “Edith” dealt with a lot of issues that at the time were unknown territory for female characters on television. These included menopause, crisis of faith, and rape. Stapleton won two Golden Globes and three Primetime Emmys for “All in the Family” She continued when the series evolved in 1979 into “Archie Bunker’s Place.” However, she decided that her part had been reduced so much that she would not return to the show. In 1980, the producers and writers had the character die of a stroke.
Following her departure, she continued to act in many various capacities. She did guest appearances on staples like “Love Boat”, “Touched by an Angel” “Caroline in the City” and “Everybody Loves Raymond.” She also briefly made a comeback to series television in “Baghdad Cafe” with Whoopi Goldberg. She also had roles in the hit movies “Michael” and “You’ve Got Mail.”
She was proceeded in death by her husband, William Putch. Jean is survived by her two children, Pamela and John Putch. Pamela is a television producer and John is an actor and director. He has directed such shows as ” Scrubs” and “Cougar Town.” Chitownstarconnections sends their regards to the family and friends of this treasure.