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Jean Stapleton: 'A great actor whose range was deep and majestic' (+video)

On 'All in the Family,' Jean Stapleton's 'Edith Bunker' was, as one critic writes, 'a mother to us all, a reminder that in the midst of every living room war were decent people trying to do right.'

Jean Stapleton, more than just 'Edith Bunker'
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To most television viewers in the 1970s, Jean Stapleton was the working class housewife ditz with the screechy New York voice who put up with a domineering, bigoted husband – brilliantly and hilariously, and with a kind of love for stagecraft, and indeed for Archie Bunker that defined that sitcom era.

Ms. Stapleton, who died over the weekend, was much more than Edith Bunker of course, although that’s the role she’ll be most remembered for, the one that won her three Emmys and two Golden Globe awards.

She spent years performing in live theater alongside such actors as Barbra Streisand and Art Carney, did a one-woman show as Eleanor Roosevelt, and helped run a regional theater with her late husband William Putch.

 

News of her passing brought an outpouring from her Hollywood colleagues.

"Jean was a brilliant comedienne with exquisite timing,” said Rob Reiner, who played her son-in-law, dubbed “Meathead” by Archie. “Working with her was one of the greatest experiences of my life."

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