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The world lost another TV icon this weekend. Actress Jean Stapleton has passed away due to natural causes at 90 years of age. Though she had a long screen career, which dates back to the 1950's, Stapleton is likely best known for her role as Edith Bunker, the polite wife to the less-polite Archie Bunker in the long-running 70's CBS comedy series All in the Family.
LA Times reported news of her death, stating that Stapleton died in her home in New York City on Friday, of natural causes. Her family announced word of her death yesterday. She was born in New York in 1923 and got her big break as a professional actor with a role in the national touring company of Harvey in 1949. Stapleton passed twelve years after Carroll O'Connor - who played her loud-mouthed on-screen husband Archie - died. Though many of us remember her best for playing Edith Bunker, she's also appeared in some notable feature films, including the classic baseball-themed musical Damn Yankees!, and in the later part of her career, the part of the sweet Birdie Conrad in You've Got Mail. She also appeared in Everybody Loves Raymond and Murphy Brown. Her final credited role was a TV movie called Like Mother, Like Son: The Strange Story of Sante and Kenny Kimes in 2001.
All in the Family came a bit before my time, but it's certainly one of the more notable and memorable TV series in the medium's history. Just hearing the words "Jean Stapleton" or "Edith Bunker" prompts familiar piano notes and the sweet, unmistakably high-pitched melody of "Those Were the Days." All in the Family is a classic show and Stapleton's contribution to that, playing the kinder half of the Bunker duo, won't soon be forgotten.
You can watch a full episode below. In this one, Edith takes an interest in Catholicism, much to her husband's dismay...