Archibald "Archie" Bunker was born in Queens, New York on January 6, 1924, the son of David Bunker and Sarah Longstreet. He was believed to be of English descent, but knew very little of his roots. Archie came from a simple, but troubled home living on the edge of poverty. His father worked as a railroad watchman and mother a housewife. He had a younger brother, Alfred, whom he was estranged from for years. He dropped out of high school in order to help out his family financially and due to his mother's death.
Archie enlisted in the Army Air Corps in WW2 and was based in Italy in a non-combatant role. His occupation in the war was unknown.
After the war, he went to work on a loading dock, a job his uncle helped secure for him and remained at the job for over 30 years, working his way up to dock foreman. His employment with his job was stable until 1974 when they went on strike, then back to work, then laid off from his job in 1976, worked briefly as a janitor, then gave the job up in 1977 purchasing Kelsey's Bar.
On November 23, 1948, Archie married Edith Baines, who came from a respectable middle-class background. Many in her family, especially her outspoken cousin Maude, were opposed to the marriage and thought of Archie as unrefined and uneducated, but allowed the marriage, anyway. They bought a row house in Queens on 704 Hauser Street, where they remained their entire marriage. Their only child, Gloria was born on February 23, 1950.
In 1970, Archie and Edith's daughter Gloria married Mike Stivic, a liberal college student Archie did not approve of immediately from first meeting him, but he allowed the marriage. Mike moved in with them to be able to go to school full time and there were a lot of tensions between he and Archie on their views and Mike's lack of employment, but they managed to get beyond their differences. Mike and Gloria rented the Jefferson's old home next door in 1975 while working as an associate professor, then received a promotion in 1978 to move to California as a professor of sociology.
Several months after Gloria and her husband Mike left for California, they took in Edith's niece Stephanie from a late stepsister of hers whose unstable and chronic alcoholic father was unable to take care of her. Archie was reluctant, but Edith was more than happy to despite a later health problem she had in her legs from blood clots.
In September 1980, Archie's wife Edith died in her sleep just shy of 53 years of age and Archie was faced with the difficult task of single parenting a preteen girl. A year afterwards, he took in his high school aged niece, Billie, a daughter of Alfred's.
Archie continued to run his business, Archie Bunker's Place, selling the place and retiring in 1990. He moved out of his home on Hauser Street into a retirement home along with his old friend, Barney Hefner.
Archie died of heart failure on June 21, 2001 at the age of 77.
One of the most memorable characters in TV history, lovable bigot Archie Bunker was insufferably prejudiced (and not just about race) to the point of being a stereotype himself.
Brilliantly depicted by Carroll O'Connor, Archie's blue-collar paranoia was so un-PC by today's standards, that even though he was unknowingly self-parodying, the show could not have been made today.
In the end, despite his character flaws, he loved his family and (at least some of the time) chose to do the right thing.
There will never be another Archie Bunker.