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Jean Stapleton

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Jean Stapleton
Jean Stapleton
Jean Stapleton appeared as Edith Bunker on All In The Family and several episodes of the spinoff series Archie Bunker's Place during the 1979-80 season, its first.
Personal Information
Birthname: Jeanne Murray
Born: (1923-01-19)January 19, 1923
Birthplace: New York City, New York, U.S.
Died: May 31, 2013(2013-05-31) (aged 90)
Occupation/
Career:
Actress, Comedian
Spouse(s): William H. Putch
(m.1956-1983; his death)
Character/Series involvement
Series: All In The Family/Archie Bunker's Place
Episodes appeared in
(and/or) involved with:
208 in Series, also first 6 episodes of Archie Bunker's Place
Character played: Edith Bunker
Small flag infobox wordmark


Jean Stapleton (born Jeanne Murray; January 19, 1923-died May 31, 2013)[1][2] was a veteran character actress of stage, television and films.

She is best known for her portrayal of Edith Bunker, the long-suffering, yet devoted wife of Archie Bunker (played by Carroll O'Connor) and mother of Gloria Bunker Stivic (played by Sally Struthers), on the 1970s situation comedy All In The Family.[1] Stapleton was also seen occasionally on the All in the Family follow-up series, Archie Bunker's Place, but, tired of the role, asked to be written out after the first season.[1]

CareerEdit

Born and raised in New York City, the daughter of Joseph E. Murray (a billboard advertising salesman) and Marie Stapleton Murray (a singer), she attended Hunter College.[3] She began her career in 1941 in summer stock, aged 18, and made her New York debut in American Gothic, an Off-Broadway play.

Broadway theatreEdit

Jean was featured on Broadway in several hit musicals, such as Damn Yankees, Funny Girl, Bells Are Ringing, and Juno. She guest starred in many television series, including the role of Rosa Criley in the 1963 episode "The Bride Wore Pink" on NBC's medical drama about psychiatry, The Eleventh Hour .

Her early work on television included roles in Starlight Theater, Robert Montgomery Presents, Lux Video Theater, Woman with a Past, The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse, Dr. Kildare, The Patty Duke Show, Car 54 Where Are You?, Dennis the Menace and Naked City. On an episode of The Defenders broadcast on 1 December 1962, Jean Stapleton guest-starred with future television husband Carroll O'Connor.

In 1979, she appeared in the original Canadian production of the musical Something's Afoot, which was later broadcast on Showtime. In 1982, Stapleton portrayed 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.[4] She co-starred in Bagdad Cafe with Whoopi Goldberg, the television series based on the movie of the same name. Her awards for All in the Family include three Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards. She was offered a role in the feature film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory as Mrs. Teevee (the role went to Nora Denney), but she declined because it coincided with the production of the All in the Family pilot.[2]

Stapleton appeared in made-for-TV movies and feature films such as Klute, the comedy Cold Turkey and the Faerie Tale Theatre episode "Cinderella" as the fairy godmother and as the Giant's Wife in "Jack and the Beanstalk". She also had a recurring role on television's Scarecrow and Mrs. King as a British spy. She appeared in the educational series Beakman's World as Beakman's mother, "Beakmom".

In 1996, she played opposite John Travolta, portraying the eccentric rooming house owner, Pansy Milbank in Nora Ephron's hit Michael. Stapleton also appeared in the 1998 feature You've Got Mail as a close co-worker in whom Meg Ryan's character confides. Stapleton appeared on the CBS television series Touched by an Angel as an angel named Emma.

In the 1990s, Jean played the role of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, in a children's series of the same name based on the books by Betty MacDonald. The show was created by Shelley Duvall, and lasted only one season. The series is available on video.[5] In 1996, she appeared in the Everybody Loves Raymond episode "I Wish I Were Gus" playing Ray's Aunt Alda.[6] That same year, she also appeared in the Murphy Brown episode "All in the Family" playing Miles's grandmother, Nana Silverberg.[7] Making a debut in the world of video games, Stapleton was the voice of Grandma Ollie on KinderActive, Turner Pictures, and New Line Cinema's venture "Grandma Ollie's Morphabet Soup." The game won a Teacher's Choice Award from Learning Magazine. In 1998, Stapleton guest-starred in the Jean Smart sitcom, Style & Substance, playing a former television chef who has since "lost her marbles."

Stapleton also voiced John Rolfe's maid, Mrs. Jenkins in Disney's 1998 direct-to-video animated film Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World. She reunited on-camera with O'Connor on Donny and Marie Osmond's talk show on April 24th, 2000, a little over a year before O'Connor's death. When the show's hosts asked her to perform in Edith Bunker's voice, she jokingly told them that she only does so "for pay". Stapleton later told the Archive of American Television that she does not like to replicate voices and mannerisms of characters whom she's created in casual settings, as she feels that it trivializes and detracts from the characters as originally created.

Personal lifeEdit

For 30 years, Stapleton's husband William Putch (1924-1983) directed a summer stock theater, Totem Pole Playhouse, at Caledonia State Park in southern Pennsylvania. Stapleton performed occasionally at the theatre with the resident company.

Together they had two children: actor/writer/director John Putch and actress Pamela Putch.[8]

Stapleton's brother, Jack Stapleton, was a stage actor. Her cousin is actress Betty Jane Watson.

Death and reactionEdit

Stapleton died, surrounded by family and friends, on May 31, 2013, in New York City of natural causes.[9] She was 90 and is survived by her two children, John, a TV director, and Pamela, a TV producer.[10]

Norman Lear said, "No one gave more profound 'how to be a human being' lessons than Jean Stapleton."[11] Fellow US sitcom actress Roseanne Barr said that Stapleton's range was "unbelievable, deep and majestic."[11] Co-star and BAFTA- and Oscar-nominated director and producer Rob Reiner said, "Working with her was one of the greatest experiences of my life."[11] Sally Struthers said, "Jean lived so in the present. She was a Christian Scientist who didn't say or think a negative thing ... She was just a walking, living angel." [12]

The marquee lights on Broadway were dimmed for one minute on June 5, 2013 at 8 p.m. EDT to honor the memory of Stapleton.[13]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Biography for Jean Stapleton". http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/participant.jsp?spid=183134. Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Michael Karol. Funny Ladies. p. 46. 
  3. Betty Goodwin (January 5, 1986). "Jean Stapleton: 'Stardom isn't a Goal'". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1986/01/05/arts/jean-stapleton-stardom-isn-t-a-goal.html?&pagewanted=1. Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  4. Robert Faires (November 10, 2000). "Image of a First Lady". Austin Chronicle. http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/story?oid=oid:79262. Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  5. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (TV Series 1994)
  6. "I Wish I Were Gus" at the Internet Movie Database
  7. "All in the Family" at the Internet Movie Database
  8. New York Times (November 25, 1983)
  9. "Jean Stapleton, best known for playing Edith Bunker in 'All in the Family,' dies at 90". Associated Press. Fox News. June 1, 2013. http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/06/01/all-in-family-jean-stapleton-dies-at-0/. Retrieved June 2, 2013. 
  10. Luther, Claudia (June 1, 2013). "'All in the Family' star Jean Stapleton dies at 90". Chicago Tribune. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/la-et-st-jean-stapleton-dies-at-90-20130601,0,5429067.story. Retrieved June 2, 2013. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Botelho, Greg (June 1, 2013). "Actress Jean Stapleton, from 'All in the Family,' dies". CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/01/showbiz/jean-stapleton-obit/index.html. Retrieved June 2, 2013. 
  12. http://www.starpulse.com/news/Dave_Simpson/2013/06/07/sally_struthers_remembers_onscreen_mum
  13. "Broadway To Dim Its Lights In Honor Of Jean Stapleton". NY1. http://www.ny1.com/content/ny1_living/on_stage/183212/broadway-to-dim-its-lights-in-honor-of-jean-stapleton. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 

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