‘All in the Family’: Sally Struthers Described Emotional Visit with Jean Stapleton Before Her Death

by Evan Reier
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When it comes to legendary on-screen relationships, All in the Family had them in spades. Vibrant characters created incredible dynamics.

This was due to a cast that was committed to creating an innovative and hilarious show. Creator Norman Lear’s genius was on full display, and his team execution was so good that it is still beloved nearly half a century later.

Jean Stapleton, the actress behind Edith Bunker, and Sally Struthers, the actress behind Gloria Stivic were crucial to that. Their relationship on and off-screen was strong, which the latter described in 2013.

All in the Family Stars Sally Struthers and Jean Stapleton’s Final Meeting

Shortly after the death of Stapleton at the age of 90 in 2013, Struthers spoke to TV Guide about her “TV Mom”. As Struthers states in the interview, it was the first time she spoke on the matter without crying.

But she reflected on the memories and meaningfulness of Stapleton in her life. While she hadn’t seen Stapleton in two years at the time of her death, she did have a visit with her late in life.

“I flew up to New York from Virginia specifically to visit Jean,” Struthers said. “I was so happy to see her in her beautiful apartment overlooking Lincoln Center. The walls were this buttery yellow inside — as cheery and happy as Jean was. She couldn’t have picked a better color. She was so proud of that space and kept showing me around.”

The cute and emotional memory continues with Struthers lovingly describing Stapleton’s “favorite room”.

“Her favorite room was quite tiny: an office filled with all her awards, mementos and scripts,” Struthers said. “She had a place where she could sit and write. A lot of reminiscing and laughter went on. I caught her up on my daughter, and she caught me up on her children, John and Pam. It was as if we had said goodnight the night before in the CBS parking lot and had picked up the next day.”

Jean Stapleton Didn’t Have Much Memorabilia from Show

It’s certainly a touching story and moment in the context of the two’s work together. While Struthers eventually left the show, she still appeared in 183 episodes of the program, as did Rob Reiner. Jean Stapleton appeared in 208 episodes of All in the Family.

Interestingly enough, though, Struthers also explained that Stapleton didn’t have much All in the Family memorabilia. This wasn’t necessarily due to a dislike for the show, but a desire to be present, Struthers explained.

“No. Jean lived so in the present,” Struthers said. She was a Christian Scientist who didn’t say or think a negative thing. I have been her friend for 43 years and in all those years never once heard her angry, say a swear word or anything negative about another human being.”

Outsider.com