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Five Things You Should Know About Jean Stapleton

Scott Gries, Getty Images

In tribute to Jean Stapleton who died Friday (May 31), here are some things you may not know about Stapleton and her character Edith Bunker from ‘All In The Family.’

  • Stapleton had the chance to play Mrs. Teevee in the movie ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ but chose the TV role of Edith Bunker instead.
  • In the first few seasons of the show, Stapleton and Carroll O’Connor slurred the line in the theme song, “gee our old LaSalle ran great.” Viewers couldn’t understand the line, plus many didn’t know a LaSalle as an automobile from the ’30s. They re-shot the theme and had her phonetically pronounce the line so it could be understood better.
  • In the series, Edith Bunker couldn’t sing. Stapleton was actually a very accomplished singer, performing musical theater throughout her career.
  • During the second season, Carroll O’Connor’s name was supposed to appear first in the credits before the title of the show, but he insisted both he and Jean Stapleton be given top billing.
  • Towards the end of the series, Stapleton asked producer to Norman Lear to have Edith respectfully die claiming “she was only fiction.” Lear told her, “not to me she isn’t.”



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