Her character regularly obeyed her husband’s demand to “stifle yourself.”
But Edith was honest and compassionate, and “in most situations she says the truth and pricks Archie’s inflated ego,” Stapleton added.
The stage-trained actress was little known to the public before “All In the Family,” the top-rated CBS sitcom that also starred Sally Struthers as the couple’s daughter and Rob Reiner as their liberal son-in-law Mike, aka Meathead.
“Jean was a brilliant comedienne with exquisite timing. Working with her was one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Reiner said in a statement.
Stapleton was surrounded by family and friends when she died.
“It is with great love and heavy hearts that we say farewell to our collective Mother, with a capital M,” said her son and daughter, John Putch and Pamela Putch, in a statement. “Her devotion to her craft and her family taught us all great life lessons.”
She proved her own toughness when her husband of 26 years, William Putch, suffered a fatal heart attack in 1983 at age 60 while the couple was touring with a play directed by Putch.
Stapleton went on stage in Syracuse, N.Y., that night and continued on with the tour. “That’s what he would have wanted,” she told People magazine in 1984. “I realized it was a refuge to have that play, rather than to sit and wallow. And it was his show.”