Jean Stapleton loved playing Edith, but she didn't want the role to become her personality

All in the Family wouldn't be complete without Edith, but Stapleton didn't want to be typecast.

When you hear the name Jean Stapleton, the first show that might come to mind is All in the Family. That's because the actress portrayed Edith Bunker, the loving wife of Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor), who often had to stay optimistic during her husband's shenanigans.

Playing Edith was a huge career boost for Stapleton, who began acting at 18 in 1941. The actress won three Emmys and two Golden Globes for Best Actress in a Comedy Series for the part. However, with major success comes stress and the risk of being typecast.

In an interview with Corpus Christi Times in 1971, Stapleton talked about how hard it was to do interviews because of role's success. "It is difficult to keep talking about myself," she said. "I'm happy I haven't had the time to go on all the talk shows."

Just a few months after All in the Family debuted, the actress won her first Emmy award, and being in demand was a lot for her to handle.

Edith was a fictional character, which meant Stapleton had to talk in a high-pitched tone to fulfill the role. "The image of the character dictates how [I'll] talk," she said.

Changing her voice was easy as Stapleton worked in theatre for many years and participated in Broadway versions of films like Bells Are Ringing.

All in the Family's success made Stapleton happy, but she didn't want the role to become her personality. She wanted to play more varied parts. The actress said, "There's a whole personality basis for casting [in Hollywood], and I'm not a personality gal."

Despite not wanting Edith to be her most known part, it was, but it gave her fans from all over the world, especially women who were wives and saw themselves in the kooky but loveable Edith.

Watch All in the Family on MeTV!

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10 Comments

HughJardon 13 days ago
As long as the Andy Griffith Show stays where it is, I'll be happy.
Cougar90 14 days ago
The story I read was that Jean Stapleton was the front runner for the lead in "Murder, She Wrote" and she liked the idea of Jessica Fletcher being a super sleuth who just happened to be a teacher living in Maine. Then they decided to make her into more of a regular person to attract more viewers. When they told her of the new plans for the character, she left the project, and they got Angela Lansbury. It was said she wanted Jessica to be as far as possible from Edith Bunker, and they changed all of that.
DZee 14 days ago
Yet another crap show on MeTV. What happened to your network? With all of the available GOOD classic shows...you picked this one?
Serolod1962 DZee 14 days ago
It was a great show. There's a new invention called a remote. Feel free to use it to change the channel.
Cougar90 DZee 14 days ago
It was that funny when it was first on the air!
Cougar90 Cougar90 14 days ago
My bad. I meant to write, "It wasn't that funny when it was first on the air!" I hope I didn't get the hopes up of the AITF fans.
Adamsfather45 15 days ago
Thank you metv for adding All in the Family to your lineup.
LoveMETV22 15 days ago
Although Jean Stapleton is best remembered for her role as Edith on "All in the Family" she did appear in other TV Series and Movies before and after " AITF". Like " Aunt Mary (1979):

She was a versatile actress.
justjeff LoveMETV22 15 days ago
Stapleton played a bar owner in an early-1960s episode of "Naked City"...
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