Monday, June 3, 2013

Jean Stapleton

Actress Jean Stapleton died this weekend. My first experience with her was in the Disney Channel original movie Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme, in which she played Mother Goose. It was this bizarre star-studded project from Shelley Duvall. I wonder if she retained the rights, since the VHS did not come out through Disney. That's one I'd love to see get a DVD release.

But while she's played other roles such as Eleanor Roosevelt, most people know her from her Emmy-winning performance as Edith Bunker on All in the Family.

She always managed to make Edith a real person and not a caricature, even while playing the broadest comedy. She brought a sensitivity to the show that helped balance some of the gruffer "I-can't-believe-he-said-that" moments, and you always felt she and Archie really loved each other. Her comic timing was excellent, and while not exactly a comedienne, I think she's sometimes overshadowed by great comic actresses like Carol Burnett. She was a real talent, and she will be missed.

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