Top producer Norman Lear has paid a heartfelt tribute to his All In The Family star Jean Stapleton following her death on Friday (31May13). The three-time Emmy winner, best known for playing Archie Bunker's long-suffering wife Edith in hit 1970s sitcom All in the Family, passed away of natural causes at her home in New York City, aged 90.
Over the weekend (01-02Jun13) a number of stars and industry executives offered their memories of the beloved actress, with Lear stating: "Back in 1971, possibly the first time I was asked by a journalist, 'What is Jean Stapleton like?', my reflexive response was: 'She's always where she is.' I was surprised by my answer, never had the thought before and never knew it resided within me. Can I reach deeply enough inside me now to express how much that, the idea and Jean Stapleton herself has meant to me? I was at my computer when her glorious children, John and Pam, phoned me (to break the news of her death), and I told them I was working on my memoir, and reflecting on the time I was father to my personal family on Mooncrest Drive while also fathering Archie and Edith and three other families on CBS (network). And I added - so, at 90, here still is Jean Stapleton, 'always where she is,' helping me to see my own frailties and humanity yet again. No one gave more profound 'How to be a Human Being' lessons than Jean Stapleton. Goodbye Edith, darling."
Her co-star Rob Reiner, who played son-in-law Michael Stivic on the show, adds, "Jean was a brilliant comedienne with exquisite timing. Working with her was one of the greatest experiences of my life. My thoughts go out to her family."
Bette Midler took to Twitter.com to write, "Jean Stapleton, beloved as Edith in ALL IN THE FAMILY dies at 90. She was unforgettable in that role...rest in peace...", while Glee's Jane Lynch, who is currently starring on Broadway, added, "Tonight I dedicate @ANNIEonBroadway to the great JEAN STAPLETON and her gorgeous memory."
Veteran entertainer Dick Van Dyke, who sang the TV show's theme tune, added his on Twitter tribute, writing, "R.I.P. Jean Stapleton, such a sweet lady!!"