Why Sally Struthers was ''itching to leave'' All in the Family

Struthers had been on the series for seven years and wanted to show that she was more than Gloria.

Sony Pictures Television

Seven years is a long time to spend anywhere, but on a TV show where change isn't always welcomed, it can feel claustrophobic. When Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers decided to leave All in the Family, the series that had made the two of them famous, it was not a decision that they took lightly. Still, Struther was eager to begin the next phase of her life.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Struthers confessed she was "itching to leave" the series by the time she made her exit in 1978. 

"I was young, energetic. I figured I could go off and do anything," Struthers said. "I listened to a lot of my contemporaries who considered themselves artists and they were telling me that I should stretch myself and prove myself. And then you always have 'yes' people around who tell you, 'Look what this one's doing and that one. You can do it; you can do all that exciting stuff.'"

However, the reality of her departure wasn't as sweet as Struthers had hoped for. "I found out life's not a breeze, that you can't bet on anything. I started being treated like I was a newcomer and I had to prove myself all over again. That's a hard thing. You think you've made it and then you realize that at dinner tables all over Beverly Hills, you're part of a conversation that goes, 'Whatever happened to Sally Struthers?'"

In an interview with Knight-Ridder, Struthers also acknowledged that there was a bit of a divide in how she was being perceived on television versus in movies. 

"There's a double image going on," Struthers said. "On TV, I'm a character actress and comedienne; in the two movies I've done, I'm cast in kind of a sexy role. Yet people don't think of me dramatically."

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5 Comments

italianrose74 1 month ago
Tale as old as time in Hollywood, telling you how great you are. You are so great, you should be doing this, yada, yada, yada!! It’s a shame she got caught up in that.
Runeshaper 1 month ago
It's not always greener on the other side. I understand being ready for a change, but you need to be ready for what comes with that as well.
DocForbin 1 month ago
Rather ironically a few years later she'd be back in the short-lived spin-off Gloria.
ncadams27 DocForbin 1 month ago
Could you imagine a show with Rob Reiner called Meathead?
McGillahooala ncadams27 1 month ago
I can’t imagine a show with Rob Reiner called anything else.
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