Beloved TV Star Jean Stapleton, Who Played Edith Bunker On 'All In The Family,' Dies At 90
Beloved TV actress Jean Stapleton passed away Friday in New York City at the age of 90.
The actress, who won three Emmy Awards for her role as Archie Bunker's "dingbat" wife Edith on "All in the Family," died of natural causes, according to her family.
Stapleton played the character for nine seasons on "All in the Family" and reprised the role on the show's 1979 spinoff, "Archie Bunker's Place."She grew tired of the role after one season and asked producer Norman Lear -- whose casting her in Family made her an instant star -- to write her out of the show.
Edith's death came off-screen and was the focus of the first episode of the second season of "Archie Bunker's Place."
Lear had trouble writing the character off the show, Stapleton revealed in an interview for the Archive of American Television.
"Norman said on the phone, 'I just haven't been able to say yes to this.'" she said. "I said, ‘Norman you realize, don't you, she is only fiction,' And there was a long pause. And I thought I've hurt this dear man that I love so much.
"And then the voice came back to me, ‘She isn't.' But, shortly thereafter, he gave the word and they made Edith die."
The character was so popular that Edith's death made national news in 1980.
The actress is survived by her two children, John and Pamela. She was predeceased by husband William Putch, who died in 1983 after 26 years of marriage.
Check out the classic opening theme song from "All in the Family":