Jean Stapleton was not angry when she left All in the Family

Despite rumors that were going around in 1979, the actress didn't leave out of anger.

When a series is popular, audiences expect to see all their favorite characters for the show's duration when it's on air. If a main character announces they're leaving the production, it can be for a few reasons.

Jean Stapleton announced that she was leaving All in the Family in the middle of season nine, and there were assumptions and rumors in the press that claimed she quit.

In an interview with the Detroit Free Press in 1979, Stapleton revealed her feelings were hurt when she read an article about her departure from All in the Family. "I was hurt when I saw the headline," she began. "It just wasn't so."

According to the article in the newspaper, the headline read, "Edith Quits," and it highlighted Stapleton's decision to move on from the role after its 1979 season was completed.

Sally Struthers, who played Archie (Carroll O'Connor) and Edith's (Jean Stapleton) daughter, left the show a year before. Like her, Stapleton wanted to leave because her contract ended, and she wanted to keep her identity.

She didn't leave because of a disagreement with her fellow cast members, differences with producers or whatever other rumors were floating around.

"Quit makes it sounds as if I was leaving in anger or with something unfinished," the actress added. "It just isn't so. I love Edith. She changed my life. So far, by doing other things in the summer, I've kept my identity as an actress separate. But, I was afraid if I went on as Edith, I'd never lose her."

All in the Family's creator, Norman Lear, wanted to end the show, but the vice president of CBS Television convinced Carroll O'Connor to continue since the show was still popular.

With Stapleton leaving, the new version was called Archie Bunker's Place. She appeared in about five episodes of the first season to help with the transition and was then written off.

No matter how people felt about Stapleton choosing not to renew her contract, it doesn't take away from the value the actress brought to the character and her contributions to the legendary series.


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23 Comments

JayWill20 14 months ago
All in the Family is a perfect addition to the MeTV slate on Sunday nights for two hours. The hope is for MeTV to add this show to its weeknight lineup by this Summer as it would an excellent addition to weeknights.
jsd77 14 months ago
I enjoy the show. I love how they were fighting about the pollution and making the earth better.
Its the same thing that is happening now. So why didn't things change. Political rollercoaster. Please keep this show alive. Very relevant to today's crises.
jsd77 14 months ago
I enjoy the show. I love how they were fighting about the pollution and making the earth better.
Its the same thing that is happening now. So why didn't things change. Political rollercoaster. Please keep this show alive. Very relevant to today's crises.
jsd77 14 months ago
I enjoy the show. I love how they were fighting about the pollution and making the earth better.
Its the same thing that is happening now. So why didn't things change. Political rollercoaster. Please keep this show alive. Very relevant to today's crises.
harlow1313 14 months ago
I have read that the Archie character was based on Peter Boyle's character in "Joe," a counter-culture clash film that predates "All in the Family."

I quite like this over-the-top movie from my youth. We boys found it humorous and dark. I own it on DVD and still enjoy it. Have other commenters seen this film?
Nala92129 14 months ago
They should have ended the show when Meathead and Gloria departed for California. After Edith's "death," Lear's virtue signaling, political correctness, "wokeness" went into high gear, eliciting sighs instead of laughs. "Mrs. Canby?"
musicman37 Nala92129 13 months ago
I'm so sick of people evoking "wokeness" for everything these days. Many of you don't even use it correctly.
Antenna2 14 months ago
She must have been a good actor, because Edith always got under my skin with her constant doting way of treating Archie, "Here's your beer." Of the 4 characters, Archie was my favorite because he was so uninformed about most everything he disagreed with, that I couldn't help laugh. My parents liked the show more than I did, but as a kid in my teens and with one TV at home to watch and years from cable it was that or the radio...
MrsPhilHarris 14 months ago
I tried to watch last night but didn’t really like it. It’s just so early 70s. I know that sounds weird because that’s when it takes place but it annoys me for some reason and I’m not sure why. 🤷‍♀️ I find Michael and his pontificating so annoying. For me some shows just don’t age well and this (so far) is one of them. I’ll give it try again next week though.
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You definitely have to continue to watch to understand why it is still considered one of the best sitcoms ever done. The first season was establishing 4 very distinct characters but with time, each character evolved in a very well written and performed way. As the show progresses, you see the relationship between Mike and Archie evolve as well as Archie and Edith evolve. A few episodes come to mind. Edith's 50th Birthday, You're Too Good and another one that involves Mike and Archie trapped in their cellar. I'll try to find the name of it. Those episodes really were some of the best but also hard to watch.
The episode is Two's a Crowd and they're in a storage room not the cellar.
I guess I could try again but the character of Mike annoys me so much. 🤨
CANARYMETV666 14 months ago
I love All in the Fsmily.
Glad it on METV.
I can remember My dad had Mash on and All in the Family would come on right after then MTM
madvincent CANARYMETV666 14 months ago
it was good watching it last night........love the 6's lol
cperrynaples madvincent 14 months ago
Well, I saw both versions of The Omen, so I know what this means...LOL!
madvincent cperrynaples 14 months ago
did you know if you add up all the numbers on a roulette table it comes out to.......yup 666
Pacificsun 14 months ago
A nicely written story! And very complimentary to Jean Stapleton! She deserved (and does) that recognition. Because surely the role wasn't easy. And many weren't sure if AITF would be accepted at first.

In the day, some in the Print media business would stir up controversy, looking for an angle on which to base a story. More reputable entertainment sources, and TV Guide was at the time, didn't sink that low. IMO Jean Stapleton has been considered versatile and very talented. My guess is her fans appreciated all the years she was willing to put into the Series!
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