There was something about All in the Family that grabbed audiences. It was the top-rated sitcom for five seasons in a row. People still love the show even fifty years after it hit the airwaves. It could have been the series’ unflinching look at middle-class life that hooked viewers. On the other hand, it might have been the chemistry between the very different members of the Bunker clan. However, it’s more likely that it was a combination of those things.
It’s hard to think of anyone else stepping into the roles on All in the Family. Surprisingly, many of the final casting decisions weren’t the first choices for showrunners. For example, Norman Lear wanted Mickey Rooney for the role of Archie. At the same time, Rob Reiner’s fiancée at the time, Penny Marshal almost landed the role of his Reiner’s on-screen wife, Gloria. In the end, Sally Struthers won the role. In an interview with The New York Post, Struthers discussed the show and how she landed the iconic role.
Sally Struthers Talks About Her All in the Family Audition
When Sally Struthers went in to read for the part of Gloria, she was dealing with a case of laryngitis. The condition has several causes. However, the outcome is usually the same. Symptoms include a sore throat and a hoarse, raspy voice. One of the best things to do to recover from laryngitis is to rest your voice. However, the scene for Struthers’ All in the Family audition called for her to yell.
Instead of making excuses about her voice, Struthers went through with the audition. She said in the interview that her hoarse voice probably helped her stand out in the minds of All in the Family showrunners.
When she went in to audition for All in the Family, Struthers thought of it as “just another job.” She had no idea how huge the show would be. She was fresh off the Tim Conway Comedy Hour and needed work. However, the role would turn out to be much more than just another job. She went on to play the role of Gloria in three different shows. She was in the original series and Archie Bunker’s Place. Then, she had her own spinoff series called Gloria that ran for a single season.
More importantly, All in the Family allowed her to meet Carroll O’Connor. They bonded quickly. In the interview, she says that he was like a father to her off-screen. Had Sally Struthers not decided to push through her laryngitis and read for the role of Gloria, there’s no telling who would have filled her shoes. However, it is certain that no one could have played the role as well as she did.