Actress Jean Stapleton, best known for her portrayal of Edith Bunker in All in the Family, has died at the age of 90. During her time on the ground-breaking sitcom, she received four Emmy nominations and won three of them.
All in the Family was such an influential show. Not only was it a major hit, but it also approached issues that hadn’t been explored on network television before by using the portrayal of a bigoted, privileged man and his family’s reactions to his views. It tackled quite a few controversial topics, including racism, homophobia, feminism and war politics. It ran for eight years, from 1971 to 1979, with a spin-off titled Archie Bunker’s Place airing afterwards. Stapleton acted in the spin-off for one season, and then departed. Her role as Edith Bunker was meant to represent the traditional repressed housewife, expected to be submissive to her husband at all times. As the show went on, Edith’s storylines included her breaking out of that role in small doses as she took on opinions of her own.
Stapleton also acted in a few other network sitcoms and did theater work, starring in a few Broadway shows, including Damn Yankees and Funny Girl. However, she is undeniably best known and loved for her work on All in the Family. She was last seen on screen in You’ve Got Mail, the popular Nora Ephron romantic comedy.
Jean Stapleton died of natural causes on Friday, May 31st, at her home in New York City. She is survived by her two children, Pamela and John, and her grandchildren.
Photo via The New York Times