Jean Stapleton

Jean Stapleton

Jan. 19th, 1923
Born in
New York City, New York, USA

Jean Stapleton's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
All in the Family TV Show
All in the Family
Woman With A Past TV Show
Woman With A Past

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Cousin of Betty Jane Watson. Other relatives in show business were her uncle Joseph E. Deming, a vaudevillian; and her brother Jack Stapleton, a stage actor. Her parents were Joseph E. Murray (a billboard advertising salesman) and Marie Stapleton Murray (a singer). Graduated from Wadleigh High School, NYC, 1939; attended Hunter College. Worked as a secretary before becoming an actress. Made her stage debut at the Greenwood Playhouse, Peaks Island, Maine, in the summer of 1941. Made her New York stage debut in "The Corn Is Green" (1948). 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), Bells Are Ringing (1960)). Other Broadway roles include the original companies of "Rhinoceros" (1961) and "Funny Girl" (1964). She also played Abby Brewster in the 1986-87 revival of "Arsenic and Old Lace".

  • Best remembered by the public for her role as Edith Bunker on All in the Family (1971).
  • Was offered the role of Jessica Fletcher on _"Murder, She Wrote" (1984)_ (qv), but declined. (Ultimately, the role went to 'Angela Lansbury' (qv).)
  • Turned down the role of Charlie's mother in _Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)_ (qv) in order to take the part of Edith Bunker on _"All in the Family" (1971)_ (qv).
  • Portrayed Sister in the stage version of Damn Yankees! and reprised her role in the movie Damn Yankees! (1958).
  • In an episode of the courtroom drama series The Defenders in: "The Hidden Jungle" aired 1st 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' (qv), who later starred with her in _"All in the Family" (1971)_ (qv).
  • She won the role of Edith Bunker on _"All in the Family" (1971)_ (qv) when creator 'Norman Lear' (qv) saw her perform in "Damn Yankees" on Broadway.
  • Was offered the role of Mrs. TeeVee on _Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)_ (qv), but turned it down to work on the pilot of _"All in the Family" (1971)_ (qv).
  • Received an honorary degree from Wilson College and has a scholarship named after her.

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