Entertainment & Arts

All in the Family actress Jean Stapleton dies

Jean Stapleton
Image caption Stapleton spent eight years ont he cast of All in the Family

Actress Jean Stapleton, best known for her role as Edith Bunker in the 1970s US sitcom All in the Family, has died aged 90.

Stapleton won three Emmy awards for playing Archie Bunker's naive, good-hearted housewife Edith.

The hit series about a working-class couple was adapted from the British show Til Death Us Do Part.

She died of natural causes at her home in New York City on Friday, her son, the director John Putch, said.

Stapleton, who was known for her shrill voice, spent eight years on the show and flourished as the retiring homebody who was often at odds with her curmudgeonly and bigoted husband.

"No one gave more profound 'How to be a Human Being' lessons than Jean Stapleton," said the show's producer Norman Lear.

A stage-trained character actress, Stapleton originated the role of Mrs Strakosh in Funny Girl with Barbra Streisand in 1964.

She earned Emmy nominations for playing Eleanor Roosevelt in the 1982 film, Eleanor, First Lady of the World and for a guest appearance in 1995 on Grace Under Fire.

Her son and daughter John and Pamela Putch said in a statement: "It is with great love and heavy hearts that we say farewell to our collective Mother, with a capital M.

Image caption Stapleton won three Emmy's for her role as Edith Bunker

"Her devotion to her craft and her family taught us all great life lessons," they added.

Following All in the Family, Stapleton also featured in the 1998 Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan romantic film You've Got Mail and Michael, starring John Travolta, in 1996.

She turned down the chance to star in the popular TV mystery show Murder, She Wrote, which became a showcase for Angela Lansbury.

Other guest appearances included Murphy Brown and Everybody Loves Raymond.

"I wasn't a leading lady type," she once told The Associated Press.

"I knew where I belonged. And actually, I found character work much more interesting than leading ladies."

For years, she rarely watched All In the Family, but had softened by 2000, when she told the Archive of American Television that enough time had passed.

"I can watch totally objectively,'' she said. "I love it and I laugh. I think, 'Oh,' and I think, 'Gee, that's good'."

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