Saturday, June 1, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Requiem For A Dingbat

Boy, the way Glenn Miller played,
Songs that made the hit parade.
Jean Stapleton really had it made.
Those were the days.

First of all,my apologies to Charles Strouse who wrote the original ALL IN THE FAMILY theme song "Those Were The Days" with his  partner Lee Adams,  second of all,type "Who was Glenn Miller?" on Google Answers or type "Glenn Miller" into the homepage search box, (Hey Sergey and Larry! I just engaged in some shameless cross-promotion! NOW do I get the free Chromebook?) and third of all, this is a special edition of Steve's Blog recalling the long life and extraordinary career of Jean Stapleton, or, as she was better known, Edith Baines Bunker.(BTW, Glenn Miller had a hit with "In The Mood" in 1940, the second-to-last  time the Rangers won the Stanley Cup. It's almost 19 years and we STILL got nothing! But, I digress.)

Jean, the former Jeanne Murray,took her professional surname from her mother, a singer.She began her career on  the stage in 1941, and her career embraced everything from musical comedy (DAMN YANKEES, FUNNY GIRL) to TV drama (THE ELEVENTH HOUR,NAKED CITY, and THE DEFENDERS, where she acted alongside her future "husband," Carroll O'Connor. She played Archie Bunker's (O'Connor's character) faithful wife Edith on ALL IN THE FAMILY, the first sitcom brave enough to address the burning issues of its time, (1971-1979) and recreated the role on its spinoff, ARCHIE BUNKER'S PLACE. Although Archie always screamed, "Stifle ya-self, Dingbat!" I always thought Edith was smarter than she let Archie know. When Edith "died," Jean was reborn as a serious actress playing Eleanor Roosevelt. She was also known for her roles on the PBS science series BEAKMAN'S WORLD, SCARECROW AND MRS. KING,and the TV version of the movie BAGDAD CAFE, which also starred Whoopi Goldberg.

She leaves behind two children by her late husband Bill Putch, and years and years of laughs.

Jean Stapleton was no dingbat, she just played one on TV. And that's why we'll always love her.

Happy Trails, Edith.


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