Jean Stapleton was not angry when she left All in the Family
Despite rumors that were going around in 1979, the actress didn't leave out of anger.
When a series is popular, audiences expect to see all their favorite characters for the show's duration when it's on air. If a main character announces they're leaving the production, it can be for a few reasons.
Jean Stapleton announced that she was leaving All in the Family in the middle of season nine, and there were assumptions and rumors in the press that claimed she quit.
In an interview with the Detroit Free Press in 1979, Stapleton revealed her feelings were hurt when she read an article about her departure from All in the Family. "I was hurt when I saw the headline," she began. "It just wasn't so."
According to the article in the newspaper, the headline read, "Edith Quits," and it highlighted Stapleton's decision to move on from the role after its 1979 season was completed.
Sally Struthers, who played Archie (Carroll O'Connor) and Edith's (Jean Stapleton) daughter, left the show a year before. Like her, Stapleton wanted to leave because her contract ended, and she wanted to keep her identity.
She didn't leave because of a disagreement with her fellow cast members, differences with producers or whatever other rumors were floating around.
"Quit makes it sounds as if I was leaving in anger or with something unfinished," the actress added. "It just isn't so. I love Edith. She changed my life. So far, by doing other things in the summer, I've kept my identity as an actress separate. But, I was afraid if I went on as Edith, I'd never lose her."
All in the Family's creator, Norman Lear, wanted to end the show, but the vice president of CBS Television convinced Carroll O'Connor to continue since the show was still popular.
With Stapleton leaving, the new version was called Archie Bunker's Place. She appeared in about five episodes of the first season to help with the transition and was then written off.
No matter how people felt about Stapleton choosing not to renew her contract, it doesn't take away from the value the actress brought to the character and her contributions to the legendary series.