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 Something Wild

Something Wild

1961 NR

A complex exploration of the physical and emotional effects of trauma, Something Wild stars Carroll Baker (Baby Doll, The Carpetbaggers), in a layered performance, as a college student who attempts suicide after a brutal sexual assault but is stopped by a mechanic played by Ralph Meeker (Kiss Me Deadly)—whose kindness, however, soon takes an unsettling turn. Startlingly modern in its frankness and psychological realism, the film represents one of the purest on-screen expressions of the sensibility of the intimate community of artists around New York's Actors Studio, which transformed American cinema in the mid-twentieth century.

  • Jean Stapleton in Michael Michael
  • Jean Stapleton in Damn Yankees Damn Yankees
  • Jean Stapleton in You've Got Mail You've Got Mail
  • Jean Stapleton in Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World
  • Jean Stapleton in Dead Man's Folly Dead Man's Folly
  • Jean Stapleton in The Best of Beakman's World The Best of Beakman's World
  • Jean Stapleton in All in the Family All in the Family
  • Jean Stapleton in The Patty Duke Show: Season 2 The Patty Duke Show: Season 2
  • Jean Stapleton in Up the Down Staircase Up the Down Staircase
  • Jean Stapleton in Archie Bunker's Place Archie Bunker's Place
  • Jean Stapleton in Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories
  • Jean Stapleton in Pursuit of Happiness Pursuit of Happiness