Carroll O'Connor didn't want Jean Stapleton to be in All in the Family's spinoff

Archie Bunker's Place focused on Archie and his life after Edith's death.

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All in the Family is one of the most successful shows of the '70s. It was known for bringing social issues to the forefront, but in a different way than you'd expect. Archie could be described in many ways, but he was mainly a character who had issues with changes in the world. From gender roles to women's rights, he liked none of it.

Carroll O'Connor played the part so well that people often thought he was like Archie in real life. Jean Stapleton was Edith, the character's wife, who was the complete opposite.

All in the Family had nine seasons, with a few noticeable changes in the later seasons. Gloria and Michael left the show, and Jean Stapleton expressed that she also wanted to depart. However, Robert Daly, CBS' vice president, wanted another season.

"The show as it was constituted was over. Jean Stapleton had given notice that she would not come back," Carroll O'Connor told the Television Academy Foundation. "Would she consider a [contract renewal]? She said no, it wasn't a matter of money. She just didn't want to come back. The young people didn't want her to come back, and neither did I."

In the interview, he didn't explain why he didn't want the actress back. The two had great chemistry on the show, and Stapleton spoke highly about O'Connor in interviews. Daly wanted O'Connor to convince Norman Lear to let the series continue, and the goal was to focus on Archie and his bar.

"[Daly] said, 'Would you go and see Norman? He would let us do it if you asked him.'... To make a long story short, he said [we] could do it. But we couldn't call it All in the Family anymore, we couldn't use the opening song with Edith and me, and we'd have to keep Edith alive as a character even though she wasn't seen...I [thought] Edith must die," he added.

O'Connor said mentioning the character without her being seen would "cripple" the show, but Norman Lear loathed the thought of killing her.

"I said we'd have to write a show in which she dies and then go on [with Archie without her.]"

All of this took place in the middle to end of All in the Family's ninth season. It took time for everyone to agree, but eventually, it happened.

All in the Family was out, and Archie Bunker's Place was in. Stapleton appeared on a few episodes of the new series to help with the transition, and then Edith was gone.



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52 Comments

Kenwood71 14 months ago
In Archie Bunkers Place. Archie was raising his two neices. I saw an interview with Denise Miller. (Billy Bunker) that Archie Bunkers place was supposed to shift the focus to her character but it never took off
Charlotte 14 months ago
Carroll O'connor was a good actor which is why he was so convincing as Archie, then do a series like In the Heat of the Night and be total opposite. Audiences got their moneys worth watching him.
timothys71 14 months ago
IMHO Archie Bunker's Place is not bad, but not as good as the original All In the Family. Kind of surprised that it isn't part of the same syndication package since it is, in essence, a revamped version of AITF, akin to how Valerie transitioned to The Hogan Family after the actress who played the title character left the show.
JimmyRad75 timothys71 14 months ago
Fired would be the more accurate term. :-) I didn't care much for the show after Valerie was gone. And there were few, if any, mentions of her after the episode following her passing and the fire. At least The Conners, which faced a similar situation, continues to reference Roseanne regularly.

As for Archie Bunker's Place- meh, didn't care much for it, either. No touching All in the Family in that regard.
Tampammm 14 months ago
I'm probably in a minority here, but I love Archie Bunkers Place! Still watch it constantly on another network, lol. Really liked it when Denise Miller and Barry Gordon joined the cast also.
AgingDisgracefully 14 months ago
I can't be certain, but Carroll seems to be as wonderful a human being as Archie.
JHP 14 months ago
well maybe he was afraid she might star in a show named "Dingbat in the night"? :)
VoiceGuy 14 months ago
I worked on an episode of In the Heat of the Night with Carrol O’Connor, and he was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Nothing at all like his Archie character.
JHP VoiceGuy 14 months ago
you see - I agree with what you stated - I cannot watch AITF and then watch in heat of the night..

I would be like the robot on Lost in Space "does not compute...does not compute...does not compute..." - that's how good he was on TV and as an actor
Robin VoiceGuy 14 months ago
The two programs were as different as night and day that it was hard to believe it was the same guy. Prejudiced on Archie, had an interracial marriage on in the Heat of the Night. Only on TV! I loved them both!
JHP Robin 14 months ago
10-4:)
oldbroad52 VoiceGuy 14 months ago
To quote Sir John Guilegood to Dustin Hoffman, “try acting.” It sounds like Jean had had enough, and he helped her. And yes, O’Connor was a prince of a guy. He was one of the first to branch out and have women in key positions on his production team for “Heat.” Foreigners, too. My guess is as well as WE all loved Edith, and how good an opposite her character was to Archie, her character was akin to having George Jefferson portrayed as a shuffling “colored” man. Also, a successful television series is a lot of work - for EVERYONE. I see it especially with talk show hosts - once a performer makes all that money, they just don’t want to work that hard. Seinfeld actually said it not after his show ended.
JHP oldbroad52 14 months ago
amen-a-roni
JeffPaul76 14 months ago
There was also another spinoff that didn't last very long, and that most people forget about or never heard of it. Gloria, Starring Sally Struthers. It was just Gloria and Joey after she divorced Mike.
Billthorp1960 JeffPaul76 14 months ago
Burgess Meredith was in that.
CoreyC 14 months ago
It was a huge mistake for AITF to continue when Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers left The addition of Stephanie was like Cousin Oliver. It had to be retooled as Archie Bunker's Place and Jean Stapleton's Edith had to be killed off.
oldbroad52 CoreyC 14 months ago
I really liked Stephanie.
Bapa1 14 months ago
At Edith's funeral, did Archie refer to her as "Dingbat"?
CoreyC Bapa1 14 months ago
There was no funeral.
Wiseguy70005 CoreyC 12 months ago
There was no funeral "shown on the series."
LoveMETV22 14 months ago
From the accompanying video clip with the article and JMO, it sounded as though Carol O'Connor may have had the same sentiments as Jean Stapleton, ( Meaning ending the series and not having any spin-offs). However CBS Executive Robert Daly thought differently and wished to run a related or spinoff to the series and was able to convince CO to go along. It should have been Robert Daly who went to Norman Lear with his idea.
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JHP timothys71 14 months ago
for me - it isn't my cup of tea either - it's my cup of P
Wiseguy70005 madvincent 12 months ago
The Jeffersons, no apostrophe.
Wiseguy70005 oldbroad52 12 months ago
The Jeffersons, no apostrophe.
Wiseguy70005 LoveMETV22 12 months ago
Carroll. Carol is a female name (as in Burnett).
Deleted 14 months ago
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oldbroad52 14 months ago
Not so.
JHP 14 months ago
ahhhh ok - in my long life you do learn to appreciate greatness - with a grain of salt
JHP 14 months ago
don't get my engine started on ad's for TV or radio - there is heaven in the MUTE button - I'd rather clean a bus station toilet than listen to any radio or tv ad - I think Alfred Hitchcock despised ad's also
Wiseguy70005 12 months ago
ads. No apostrophes in plurals.
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