Jean Stapleton arrives at the premiere Broadway performance of 'Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends' at the Booth Theater in New York City. 1/29/02 Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect
(CNN) -- Actress Jean Stapleton, best known for her
role as Archie Bunker's wife in the groundbreaking 1970s sitcom "All in
the Family," has died, her son said Saturday.
She was 90 years old.
Her son John Putch told
CNN about her passing and, along with his sister Pamela Putch, wrote an
obituary saying that she "passed away peacefully of natural causes" on
Friday at her New York City home "surrounded by friends and her
The daughter of an opera
singer and businessman, Stapleton grew up on Long Island and in New York
City. It was there during the early 1940s, while working as a typist
for the British War Ministry Office, that she began her career in
Stapleton made it to
Broadway in the production "In the Summer House" in 1953, the same year
of her television debut on the daytime drama "Woman With a Past." Other
big stage roles followed, including in "Bells Are Ringing" and "Damn
She also did more and more television, including appearances on shows such as "Philco TV Playhouse" and "Dr. Kildare."
Her breakout role was as Edith Bunker, the kindhearted foil to husband Archie, played by the late Carroll O'Connor.
"All in the Family" was
one of television's most popular shows as it broke ground while tackling
a host of social issues such as racism, sexuality, life and death.
Edith Bunker, played by Stapleton, for instance revealed that she had
breast cancer on the show, a rare occurrence at the time.
"I just loved doing it from the very beginning," Stapleton told CNN in 2001, shortly after O'Connor's death.
She won three Emmy
awards -- in 1971, 1972 and 1978, in addition to five other nominations
in which he she fell short -- for her performance in that Norman
Stapleton kept busy
after the show went off in the air in 1979 and kept on racking up more
accomplishments. Those include Emmy nominations in 1982 for playing
Eleanor Roosevelt in the CBS miniseries "Eleanor, First Lady of the
World" and in 1995 as Aunt Vivian in a guest spot on the ABC comedy
"Grace Under Fire."
"RIP Jean Stapleton,"
tweeted fellow TV comedy veteran Roseanne Barr, "a great actor whose
range was unbelievable, deep and majestic."
In 2002 she was chosen
for the Television Academy Hall of Fame, joining the likes of Tim Conway
and Bob Mackie in that organization's 15th induction class.
Her most recent
on-screen credits, according to the IMDB website, are from 2001 when she
appeared in the film "Pursuit of Happiness" and the TV movie "Like
Mother Like Son: The Strange Story of Sante and Kenny Klimes" along with
Mary Tyler Moore.
And after "All in the
Family," she continued working in theater, including a nationwide tour
as Roosevelt in her one-woman show "Eleanor: Her Secret Journey," the
Broadway revival of "Arsenic and Lace" and Obie Award performances in
Harold Pinter's "Mountain Language" and "The Birthday Party." Her final
stage appearance was in "The Carpetbagger's Children" a few blocks from
her home in New York, to which she returned permanently in 2002.
"In her own words, she was an 'actress,' not a celebrity," her children wrote. "The play always came first."
CNN's KJ Matthews contributed to this report.