Photo of Jean Stapleton Jean Stapleton

A native New Yorker born Jan. 19, 1923, stage-trained character actress Jean Stapleton attended Hunter College in Manhattan before launching her showbiz career on the boards. She debuted on Broadway in a 1953 production of "In the Summer House," and her performance opened the door for a raft of theatrical parts.

The 1960s found Stapleton turning up as a guest star on popular TV shows, including "The Defenders," where she appeared opposite Carroll O'Connor. Their second onscreen pairing -- the hit sitcom "All in the Family" (1971-79) -- blazed new trails on television, with Stapleton copping three Emmy Awards playing cheery counterpoint Edith Bunker to O'Connor's grumpy bigot.

In later years, Stapleton demonstrated her versatility with roles in the telefilm Angel Dusted (1981) and big-screen fare such as Michael (1996) and You've Got Mail (1998). She passed away May 31, 2013, at the age of 90.

Jean Stapleton in Michael


1996 PG

Two struggling tabloid reporters and an "angel expert" are sent by their boss to check out an old kook who claims to have an angel living with her. Sure enough, the guy's got wings, but he's also into smoking, drinking and womanizing. Unconvinced that Michael (John Travolta) is not an Earthly being, the reporters take him to Chicago, when Michael's unconventional methods begin to work heavenly magic. Director Nora Ephron also wrote the script.

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  • Jean Stapleton in The Patty Duke Show: Season 2 The Patty Duke Show: Season 2
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