Farewell, Edith … and Tony Soprano, Mrs. Krabappel and the Quintessential Mouseketeer
January 23, 2014
We followed the life of sweetly, naïve Edith Bunker for nine years and 200-some episodes of television’s All in the Family and Archie Bunker’s Place, coming to love her and, by extension, the actress who portrayed her, Jean Stapleton.
When the character died in 1980, there was a tug. When Stapleton, herself, died last May, the loss was almost personal. So it is with performers in whom we’ve invested both time and emotion.
Ten film and TV passings I felt most profoundly in 2013:
James Gandolfini. RIP, Tony Soprano. (Died June 19 at age 51.)
Stapleton. Did you know that, post-Edith, she turned down the role that eventually went to Angela Lansbury in Murder She Wrote? (Died May 31 at age 90.)
Jonathan Winters. Supreme funnyman, just as great in a more serious role as pool sharp Fats Brown in The Twilight Zone. (Died April 11 at age 87.)
Annette Funicello. I never got into the beach-blanket movies, but was a Mickey Mouse Club regular. Farewell to the most famous Mouseketeer. (Died April 8 at age 70.)
Elmore Leonard. You didn’t see him on the screen, but he filled it. Wrote and produced Jackie Brown. His short story, Three-Ten to Yuma, was successfully adapted to the screen twice – twice! (Died Aug. 20 at age 87.)
Harry Lewis. Key Largo is a personal favorite. Lewis was one of the hoods, led by Edward G. Robinson, who sparred with Bogie. (Died June 9 at age 93.)
Joan Fontaine. Prototypical Hitchcock leading lady, she earned an Academy Award for her performance in Suspicion. Fontaine and sister Olivia de Havilland, with whom she famously feueded, are the only sibling Oscar winners. (Died Dec. 15, the day after O’Toole, at age 96.)
Julie Harris. James Dean’s conflicted love in East of Eden. (Died Aug. 24 at age 87.)
Marcia Wallace. Loved her as the receptionist in The Bob Newhart Show. Loved her again as the voice of Edna Krabappel in The Simpsons. (Died Oct. 25 at age 70.)
Excelsior Springs Branch