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Jean Stapleton

Jean Stapleton

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Also Known As: Jeanne Murray Died:
Born: January 19, 1923 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, singer, secretary

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Having caterwauled her way into American livings rooms with her weekly rendition of "Those Were the Days" and her TV chair winding up residing in the Smithsonian along with her bigoted TV husband's, Jean Stapleton defied all Hollywood convention and played no small part in changing America's very culture with her integral role on the groundbreaking Norman Lear sitcom, "All in the Family" (CBS, 1971-79). A lifelong character actress who achieved household-name status weathering the baleful verbal assaults of her linear-thinking TV husband Archie Bunker, Stapleton played the shrill-voiced Edith with such comic yet empathetic aplomb that she became an almost ironic light in the women's rights movement. She would build upon her social-minded legacy after the show ended by way of a 20-year, off-and-on succession of jobs playing the social activist and diplomat Eleanor Roosevelt on stage and screen. Far from a typical leading-lady type, she nevertheless earned unqualified primacy as a television actress, garnering three Emmy Awards during her "All in the Family" run and endearing Edith in American households as a symbol of simple common decency steadfast amid troubled times and ignorant bluster. She...

Having caterwauled her way into American livings rooms with her weekly rendition of "Those Were the Days" and her TV chair winding up residing in the Smithsonian along with her bigoted TV husband's, Jean Stapleton defied all Hollywood convention and played no small part in changing America's very culture with her integral role on the groundbreaking Norman Lear sitcom, "All in the Family" (CBS, 1971-79). A lifelong character actress who achieved household-name status weathering the baleful verbal assaults of her linear-thinking TV husband Archie Bunker, Stapleton played the shrill-voiced Edith with such comic yet empathetic aplomb that she became an almost ironic light in the women's rights movement. She would build upon her social-minded legacy after the show ended by way of a 20-year, off-and-on succession of jobs playing the social activist and diplomat Eleanor Roosevelt on stage and screen. Far from a typical leading-lady type, she nevertheless earned unqualified primacy as a television actress, garnering three Emmy Awards during her "All in the Family" run and endearing Edith in American households as a symbol of simple common decency steadfast amid troubled times and ignorant bluster. She effectively retired from screen acting in 2001 and died in May 2013 at the age of 90.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Pursuit of Happiness (2003) Lorraine Conrad
3.
 Baby (2000) Byrd Malone
4.
 Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World (1998) Voice Of Mrs Jenkins
5.
 Chance of a Lifetime (1998) Irene'S Mother
6.
 You've Got Mail (1998) Birdie
7.
 Michael (1996) Pansy Milbank
8.
 Lily Dale (1996) Mrs Coons
9.
 Ghost Mom (1993) Mildred Mallory
10.
 Trial, The (1993) Landlady
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1940:
Sang with Robert Shaw Chorale in Double Dozen Double Damask Dinner Napkins
1941:
Acting debut in stock at the Peterborough Playhouse, Peterborough, New Hampshire
1948:
New York debut as Mrs. Watty in "The Corn is Green"
1953:
Broadway debut as Inez in "The Summer House",
1954:
TV series debut as Gwen in "Woman With a Past" (CBS)
1955:
Originated role of "Sister" in "Damn Yankees"
1956:
Originated role of "Sue" in "Bells Are Ringing"
1958:
Film debut, reprised role of "Sister" in "Damn Yankees"
1958:
Appeared in numerous productions at the Totem Pole Playhouse, Fayetteville, PA; theater founded with husband William H. Putch
1960:
Reprised role of "Sue" in film version of "Bells Are Ringing"
1968:
Cast as Edith Bunker, the wife of working class bigot Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor) on the CBS sitcom "All in the Family"
1977:
TV-movie debut in "Tail Gunner Joe" (NBC)
1978:
Played title role of "Aunt Mary" in CBS TV-movie
1979:
Reprised Edith Bunker on spin-off series "Archie Bunker's Place" (CBS) in limited appearances
1980:
Edith Bunker character died in her sleep of a heart attack during November 1980 episode of "Archie Bunker's Place" titled "Archie Alone"
1981:
Co-starred with son John Putch in "Angel Dusted" (NBC)
1982:
Played Eleanor Roosevelt in "Eleanor, First Lady of the World" (CBS)
1983:
Starred in "The Late Christopher Bean" at Kennedy Center
1984:
Turned down lead in CBS series "Murder, She Wrote"
1984:
Made operatic debut in "Candide" at Baltimore Opera Company
1987:
Toured in "Arsenic and Old Lace"
1989:
Appeared off-Broadway in revival of Harold Pinter's "The Birthday Party"
1990:
Returned to series TV as co-star with Whoopi Goldberg on the short-lived CBS sitcom "Bagdad Cafe"
1994:
Starred in family series "Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle" for Showtime
:
Toured in one-woman show "Eleanor" about First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt
1996:
Played a woman who claims to see an angel in the comedy "Michael," directed by Nora Ephron
1996:
Had supporting role in the Showtime film "Lily Dale"
1998:
Reteamed with Ephron for a supporting role in "You've Got Mail"
2000:
Co-starred with Farrah Fawcett in the well-received TNT original "Baby"
2001:
Cast as prominent NYC resident Irene Silverman in the based-on-fact CBS drama "Like Mother Like Son: The Strange Story of Sante and Kenny Kimes" opposite Mary Tyler Moore
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Education

Hunter College: New York , New York -
American Apprentice Theatre: -
American Actors Company: -
American Theatre Wing: New York , New York -

Notes

Stapleton was U.S. Commissioner to the International Women's Year Commission and National Confernece of Women in 1977.

"Everyone thinks that residuals are pouring into my mailbox, but they're not. I took a buyout--most of us did--which was customary at the time. It was a tidy sum, which I don't remember, and is well gone." --Jean Stapleton in Los Angeles Times, April 2, 1995.

"Music brought our family together. I played piano. I did not aspire to a concert career, but I accompanied my mother at home. All through high school, my main interest was music. Immediately after graduation, I was seized by the desire to act." --Stapleton in Los Angeles Times, April 2, 1995.

"I became a political animal to some degree in the 70s when I came out here [L.A.]. I was a great supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment. As a young woman I was apolitical, absolutely geared to my career. I've become more interested in the world as I've grown older. One of the greatest learning experiences in my life was playing Eleanor Roosevelt." --Stapleton to Los Angeles Times, April 2, 1995.

Stapleton has received honorary degrees from Monmouth College in NJ, Emerson College in MA and Hood College in MD.

On watching reruns of "All in the Family": "I watch it much more objectively now, and with less criticism. I look at it and think, 'Hmmmm, that's very good.'" --From New York Post, June 6, 1994.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
William H Putch. Director, producer. Married from October 26, 1957 until his death in 1983; ran the Totem Pole Playhouse in Fayetteville, Pennsylvania from the 1950s to the 80s.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Joseph E Murray. Advertising salesman.
mother:
Marie Murray. Singer.
son:
John Putch. Director, screenwriter, producer, actor. Formed Putchfilms.
daughter:
Pamela Putch. Producer. Associate producer on "Muscle" and other sitcoms.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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