Jean Stapleton

Jean Stapleton

Highest Rated: 94% Klute (1971)

Lowest Rated: 29% Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World (1998)

Birthday: Jan 19, 1923

Birthplace: Not Available

Each and every week from 1971 to 1980, the popular TV sitcom All in the Family was heralded by the glass-shattering offkey singing of Edith Bunker, aka "Dingbat." This tended to obscure the fact that Jean Stapleton, the woman who so brilliantly portrayed Edith not only possessed a lilting, well-modulated singing voice, but also was as far removed as possible from a "dingbat" in real life. While attending Hunter College, Stapleton began her performing career as a member of the Robert Shaw Chorale. She made her professional stage debut in 1941, then went on to fruitful work-study associations with the American Apprentice Theater, the American Actors Company, the American Theater Wing, and director-acting coach Harold Clurman. Her first Broadway appearance was in the 1953 production In the Summer House; the following year, she made her TV bow as a semi-regular on the daytime drama Woman With a Past. She endeared herself to Broadwayites with her wistfully funny characterizations in the SRO musicals Damn Yankees, Bells Are Ringing, and Funny Girl, roles that she would carry over into the film versions of these hits. In 1958, she made her first appearance at the Totem Pole Playhouse in Fayetteville, PA, a summer-stock operation managed by her husband, Bill Putch. Most of Stapleton's onscreen work in the 1960s and 1970s could be found in New York-based movies (Something Wild, Up the Down Staircase, Klute) and TV series (Car 54, Where Are You, The Defenders, The Patty Duke Show). Her earliest association with producer-director Norman Lear occurred in the 1969 theatrical feature Cold Turkey, in which she played a neurotic housewife named Edith. When Lear began assembling the cast for his upcoming TV sitcom All in the Family, he immediately thought of Stapleton for the role of slow-witted, strident, essentially kindhearted Bronx housewife Edith Bunker. Before leaving the series in 1980, Stapleton earned three Emmy Awards for her portrayal of Edith -- not to mention the undying affection of millions. Once free of All in the Family, she sought out roles that she hoped would demonstrate her versatility: She played the distraught mother of a drug-addicted teenager (enacted by her real-life son, John Putch) in the made-for-TV Angel Dusted (1981), and effectively portrayed Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt in the 1982 TV biopic Eleanor: First Lady of the World. Stapleton kept her comic skills sharpened by appearing in the made-for-cable productions of Shelley Duvall: She was terrific as a no-nonsense Fairy Godmother ("Trust me. This is important.") in Duvall's Faerie Tale Theater adaptation of Cinderella, and even better as the title characters in Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. In 1990, she briefly returned to weekly television as co-star (with Whoopi Goldberg) of the offbeat sitcom Bagdad Café. Jean Stapleton was then an infrequent but always welcome TV guest-star presence; in 1995, she startled (and delighted) her Edith Bunker fans with her con brio portrayal of Lea Thompson's sex-starved aunt in an episode of Caroline in the City. In 1998 she had a major part in the romantic comedy You've Got Mail, and that same year she voiced a character in Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World. Stapleton retired from acting on screen in 2001. She passed away in 2013 at the age of 90.


Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet A Most Deadly Family Actor 2004
No Score Yet Like Mother, Like Son: The Strange Story of Sante and Kenny Kimes Irene Silverman 2001
No Score Yet The Pursuit of Happiness Lorraine Conrad 2001
No Score Yet Baby Byrd Malone 2000
69% You've Got Mail Birdie 1998
29% Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World Mrs. Jenkins 1998
38% Michael Pansy Milbank 1996
No Score Yet Lily Dale Actor 1996
No Score Yet Bury Me in Niagara Mildred Mallory 1993
29% The Trial Landlady 1993
No Score Yet The Habitation of Dragons Leonora 1992
No Score Yet Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories Actor 1992
No Score Yet Best of Beakman's World Actor 1992
No Score Yet Fire in the Dark Henny 1991
No Score Yet Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme Mother Goose 1990
No Score Yet Dead Man's Folly Ariadne Oliver 1986
No Score Yet A Matter of Sex Irene 1984
No Score Yet The Buddy System Mrs. Price 1983
No Score Yet Jack and the Beanstalk Actor 1983
No Score Yet Eleanor, First Lady of the World Eleanor Roosevelt 1982
No Score Yet Isabel's Choice Actor 1981
No Score Yet Angel Dusted Betty Eaton 1981
No Score Yet American Documents, Vol. 5: How We Got the Vote Narrator 1976
94% Klute Secretary 1971
50% Cold Turkey Mrs. Wrappler 1971
80% Up the Down Staircase Miss Finch 1967
43% Something Wild Shirley Johnson 1961
82% Bells Are Ringing Sue 1960
76% Damn Yankees Sister Miller 1958


No Score Yet Touched by an Angel
Emma 2000
No Score Yet Everybody Loves Raymond
Alda 1997
No Score Yet Murphy Brown
Nana 1996
No Score Yet Grace Under Fire
Vivian 1994
No Score Yet All in the Family
Edith Bunker 1979
No Score Yet The Jeffersons
Edith 1978
100% The Muppet Show
Guest 1978
50% Bagdad Cafe
Jasmine Zweibel


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