Jean Stapleton offered Sally Struthers meaningful encouragement when the Stivics left All in the Family

Struthers spoke with TV Guide Magazine when Stapleton passed in 2013.

When Jean Stapleton suddenly passed away in 2013, TV Guide Magazine's William Keck spoke with her television daughter, Sally Struthers, in a touching interview. While the world mourned the passing of Edith Bunker, Struthers grieved for someone closer than an average co-worker. Stapleton had long been a maternal figure for Struthers, who joined the cast of All in the Family when the show premiered in 1971.

While Stapleton's passing was sad for everyone, Struthers received the news in a beautiful way.

"I had just been up to visit a mountain and I was coming down the mountain when my phone rang with someone telling me that she was gone," said Struthers. "I thought, 'Well, I suppose having just sat at the top of a mountain looking at beautiful scenery for an hour, this is a peaceful time for me to hear this.'"

Struthers proceeded to reflect on her relationship— both professional and personal— with the woman who played her mother on TV. 

"When my contract was up on All in the Family after my eight years, Rob Reiner [who played Gloria's husband, Mike 'Meathead' Stivic] and I both decided not to renew because we had other fish we wanted to fry. Jean left the following year. As I was leaving I remember saying to her, 'I hope this isn't the biggest mistake of my life,' and she said, 'Oh Sally darling, you started in the theater. It doesn't much matter what happens in this world of television or film, the theater will always welcome you back with open arms because it's your home.'

"And of course, I was away doing theater when I heard about her passing."

For some, it was the second time they'd grieved the loss of Jean Stapleton. Years prior, Edith Bunker passed away after All in the Family ended, but before the beginning of Archie's Place. That ordeal was just as sudden, and Struthers gave her thoughts on that earlier, fictional death as well.

"It was traumatizing for North America. It really was. But Norman Lear's hands were tied behind his back. He could no longer do episodes in the house because there wasn't any family left. Mike and Gloria had moved to California with baby Joey, and then gotten divorced. There was no choice but to make her die.

"I at least applaud Norman Lear for us not having had to see some long drawn-out scene with her in a bed sick. It was just after she died. It was still devastating, but so tastefully done because Carroll O'Connor wanted to continue going on. It was probably wonderful for Jean having Edith pass away because then she wouldn't have to be bothered with [pressure] to do reunions."

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cperrynaples 1 month ago
Twice this week they didn't get the spinoff title RIGHT! It's Archie BUNKER'S Place! They even show the sign in the opening! Also, Stapleton appeared in the first season and CHOSE to leave before season 2! In the words of Gomer Pyle. "SHAME SHAME SHAME!"
Just to be clear, the sign said Archie's Place when it opened in 1977 but by 1979 it became Archie Bunker's Place!
Runeshaper 1 month ago
Sounds like Jean and Sally had an AMAZING and beautiful relationship (-:
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