Jean Stapleton thought about leaving All in the Family to pursue musical comedy
The actress valued her contract but knew musical comedy was something she'd like to take seriously.
Playing the same character for a while has both benefits and cons. It could bring actors the recognition they've sought throughout their careers, especially if the role is "career-defining."
However, it can also become a little redundant and tiring if you're not allowed to work on other projects while filming that production. This can result in actors wanting to depart.
Jean Stapleton once laughed at the thought of her leaving All in the Family. Why? Because in her words, "I consider a contract as meaning something," she told The New York Times in 1974. This meant that she wasn't the type to break her contract and would instead follow through with the agreement.
She played the loveable Edith Bunker, the wife of Archie, who had to deal with his antics and judgemental outbursts. She usually would smooth things out with their guests when Archie's not-so-friendly demeanor and choice of words offended them.
The actress already had a solid career before accepting the role. She started in theatre at just 18 years old and was a part of several hit Broadway musicals. Although she laughed at the thought of leaving the show before, Stapleton admitted that she'd eventually want to.
"There are many things I'd like to do in the future," she said. "Eventually, I'd like to leave the series and concentrate on theatre again, to move seriously into musical comedy. But, well, I still have three more years to go on my Tandem Productions contract. I can't consider anything else until that has run its course."
Years later, Stapleton felt it was officially time to leave the show to pursue other gigs as she believed that her character ran its course. She didn't fully get into musical comedy as she had hoped, but she appeared in a lot of television shows, movies and even made her video game debut.
The actress also co-starred with Whoopi Goldberg in Bagdad Cafe in 1990.
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No doubt it worked that way for Fraiser too, since nobody bailed.
By the time an actor is (financially) enabled to leave, opportunities and sheer energy, changes.
She happened to be a person with integrity and loyalty. AITF doubled their good fortune, while applause for all the nice stories about Jean Stapleton! What a nice legacy.
She was obviously very professional in her obligation, when she said:
" But, well, I still have three more years to go on my Tandem Productions contract. I can't consider anything else until that has run its course."