Jean Stapleton is one of the most enduring figures in American pop culture through her portrayal of Edith Bunker on All in the Family. However, Stapleton is no longer alive; she died in 2013.
What was her cause of death? Stapleton died of natural causes, according to The Los Angeles Times. She was 90 years old when she passed away. Indeed, she lived a lot longer than her marital counterpart, Carroll O’Connor, who played Archie to her Edith. He died at age 76 in 2001 of complications from Diabetes.
Stapleton passed away at her home in New York City. After it was confirmed that Stapleton was dead, series creator Norman Lear said in a statement to the LA Times: “No one gave more profound ‘How to be a Human Being’ lessons than Jean Stapleton. Goodbye Edith, darling.”
On December 18, 2019, ABC is bringing back All in the Family and another iconic television sitcom – Good Times – live before a studio audience. Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei are playing Archie and Edith Bunker.
How did Edith Bunker, the fictional character, die? She died of a stroke in her sleep at age 52. But the real woman behind the portrayal lived much longer.
Here’s what you need to know:
Stapleton Didn’t Become a Star Until Later in Life
It’s hard to believe now, but it took decades for Stapleton to become a star. According to The Hollywood Reporter, she didn’t break through until she was 50 years old.
All in the Family was her big breakthrough moment; the show was on American television screens from 1971 through 1979. It would win her three Emmy awards out of eight nominations, according to THR. She was born as Jeanne Murray in 1923, in New York, and she started acting off Broadway, THR reports.
Stapleton died surrounded by loved ones. At the time, Bette Midler joined celebrities in offering tributes. “Jean Stapleton, beloved as Edith in ALL IN THE FAMILY dies at 90. She was unforgettable in that role…rest in peace,” Midler wrote on Twitter.
Stapleton’s Children Confirmed Her Death
Jean Stapleton was survived by her son, John Putch, a director, and her daughter, Pamela Putch.
“It is with great love and heavy hearts that we say farewell to our collective Mother, with a capital M,” both John and Pamela said in a joint statement, according to France24. “Her devotion to her craft and her family taught us all great life lessons.”
According to France24, Stapleton was her opera mother’s maiden name. Her father was a businessman. She decided to craft the Edith persona differently than the “sharp-tongued” version of the character on British television.
“As we developed and found the characters, which was in the rehearsal process and which was very stimulating, very exciting and a learning process, as these elements came to us, something else developed,” Stapleton said, according to France24. “And one was, I think I’ll use that nasal voice because it’s funny.” Archie’s character affectionately referred to Edith as “dingbat.”
She was married to William Putch for 26 years until he died of a fatal heart attack in 1983 at age 60, according to The Associated Press. According to AP, she said she didn’t have trouble leaving the iconic Edith character behind. “When you finish a role, you’re done with it. There’s no deep, spooky connection with the parts you play,” she once said, according to AP.
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