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Jean Stapleton Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (17) | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 19 January 1923Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 31 May 2013Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameJeanne Murray
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Jean Stapleton was born Jeanne Murray in Manhattan, New York City, to Marie A. (Stapleton), an opera singer, and Joseph Edward Murray, a billboard advertising salesman. Her paternal grandparents were Irish. She was a cousin of actress Betty Jane Watson. Other relatives in show business were her uncle, Joseph E. Deming, a vaudevillian; and her brother Jack Stapleton, a stage actor. She graduated from Wadleigh High School, NYC, in 1939, and attended Hunter College. She worked as a secretary before becoming an actress. Stapleton made her stage debut at the Greenwood Playhouse, Peaks Island, Maine, in the summer of 1941, and her New York stage debut in "The Corn Is Green" (1948). She appeared on Broadway in the musicals "Damn Yankees" (1955) and "Bells Are Ringing" (1956), and later repeated her roles in the movie versions (Damn Yankees! (1958) and Bells Are Ringing (1960)). Her other Broadway roles included the original companies of "Rhinoceros" (1961) and "Funny Girl" (1964). Stapleton also played Abby Brewster in the 1986-87 revival of "Arsenic and Old Lace".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tim Dunleavy <timd@snip.net>

Spouse (1)

William Putch (26 October 1957 - 23 November 1983) (his death) (2 children)

Trade Mark (2)

Her husky voice.
Her high-pitched nasally voice (as Edith Bunker on All in the Family (1971)).

Trivia (17)

Mother of actor John Putch and actress Pamela Putch.
She won the role of Edith Bunker on All in the Family (1971) when creator Norman Lear directed her in his 1971 film Cold Turkey (1971).
Is a favorite of playwright Horton Foote, for whom she has acted in numerous plays, most recently "The Carpetbagger's Children" at Lincoln Center (Closed June 2002).
Ran Totem Pole Playhouse, a summer stock theater, in Caledonia State Park, outside Chambersburg, PA. Her husband was from the area. She and her children still visit frequently.
Was offered a role in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), but turned it down to work on the pilot of All in the Family (1971).
Was offered the role of Jessica Fletcher on Murder, She Wrote (1984), but declined. (Ultimately, the role went to Angela Lansbury.)
In the TV episode The Defenders: The Hidden Jungle (1962), which aired 1 December 1962, an unknown actress at this time, she played a woman who witnessed a murder. In the episode, while on the witness stand, she is asked to point out the murderer. The actor playing the murderer was another unknown named Carroll O'Connor, who later starred with her in All in the Family (1971).
Best remembered by the public for her role as "Edith Bunker" on the TV series All in the Family (1971).
Received an honorary degree from Wilson College and has a scholarship named after her.
Portrayed "Sister Miller" in the stage version of 'Damn Yankees!' and reprised her role in the movie Damn Yankees! (1958).
Cousin of Betty Jane Watson.
In 1977 she was one the commissioners who helped put together the National Women's Conference in Houston, a gathering of 2000 delegates from every U.S. state--part of International Women's Year--to assist in the formulation of national policy on women's issues.
Was a staunch liberal Democrat and womens rights activist.
Her first Broadway appearance following her departure from long-term TV series hits ("All in the Family" and "Archie Bunker's Place") was the comedy "Arsenic and Old Lace," alongside another actress (Polly Holliday) who was also trying to get some distance from her own long series of TV hits ("Alice" and "Flo"). Interestingly, Holliday was later replaced by Marion Ross in the "Arsenic" role. Ross also was aiming for her first Broadway appearance following a long TV run in "Happy Days.".
Lives in retirement in Manhattan. [November 2008]
Best friend of Carroll O'Connor.
She was cremated.

Personal Quotes (3)

[on being identified with Edith] The first time I was on [the TV quiz show] "Hollywood Squares", I didn't get one question until the end. I assumed it was because they thought I was a dingbat.
[on her most famous character, Edith] She is not the typical American housewife. At least, I *hope* she's not the typical American housewife. What Edith represents is the housewife who is still in bondage to the male figure, very submissive and restricted to the home. She is very naive, and she kind of thinks through a mist, and she lacks the education to expand her world. I would hope that most housewives are not like that. [But] I view her as a true and honest reflection of a woman who is part of a family like the Bunkers. She has her good points--she is very human, very honest, very compassionate, very intuitive, and in most situations she says the truth and pricks Archie's inflated ego.
There's nothing like humor to burst what seems to be an enormous problem.

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