Sunday, June 2, 2013
The Passing of Edith Bunker; A True Excellent Woman
We note the passing of a most excellent woman, perhaps the most excellent of all. Our own Edith Bunker, played by actress Jean Stapleton, passed away at age 90. As Archie Bunker’s wife in All in the Family, Stapleton was tolerant and long suffering, even while Archie blew his short fuse and shot off his big mouth. As a stage actress and character actor for small parts, Jean Stapleton was chosen as a relative unknown to TV audiences to play Edith Bunker, but she made the role her own from 1971-78. The show was inspired by a British show, Till Death Do Us Part. It is conceivable that Pym saw this show, and may have even seen All in the Family, though her diaries reveal she was not that fond of us “Yanks.” Though Archie told her to “stifle” and called Edith ‘dingbat,” she was unfazed. She ruled both Archie and her family, and turned him into a kinder, gentler Archie by the end of the show’s run. Edith tackled rape, infidelity, cancer, al the major social issues her contemporaries faced. She could be funny and ditzy, but dead serious when the occasion called for it. Thought capable of “making tea in a crisis,” she often solved the problems for her family, Gloria, son in law Mike, and Archie.