in , ,

Norman Lear & Sally Struthers Talk All in the Family After 50 Years

Two of the stars of “All in the Family”, the producer Norman Lear and the lead actress Sally Struthers, recently appeared on “The Post”, where they looked back at the 50 years of “All in the Family”.

Struthers said that she was “so in love” with both her castmates Carroll and Jean. She also shared that during the time she was filming the CBS sitcom, Carroll O’Connor became a father figure to her both on-screen and off-screen. O’Connor and his wife took her everywhere with them, and even introduced her to her future husband. O’Connor also loved and protected Sally Struthers, which is why she loves him so much. As for the on-screen mother Edith Bunker, played by Jean Stapleton, Struthers described her as “an angel” and one of the kindest people she ever met in her life.

Norman Lear revealed that initially, the CBS sitcom was originally intended for the ABC television network. They had their own casting and planned to have Mickey Rooney and Jackie Gleason as part of the leading cast members. Things didn’t work out between the two sides, and CBS decided to pick up the show. It wasn’t long before they received success from both critics and general audiences.

Where are the All in the Family stars now?

But where are the celebrities of the show now? Starting with the creator of “All in the Family”, the director, producer, and writer Norman Lear, has been working on hundreds of film and television projects. Apart from “All in the Family”, he produced many other shows, including sitcoms such as “One Day at a Time”, “Sanford and Son”, “Good Times”, and “Maude”. Just like Norman, Sally Struthers is also an activist for many causes. Today, she continues to act not only in film and television but also in numerous stage productions. Her other most memorable roles on television are in “Gilmore Girls”, “Dinosaurs”, and “Tale Spin” to name a few.

Carroll O’Connor, the major star of “All in the Family”, sadly passed away in June of 2001 at the age of 76. Before and after his time on the fan-favorite show, he directed, produced, and starred in many projects and was a lifelong member of the Actors Studio. Besides “All in the Family”, and the spin-off “Archie Bunker’s Place”, he also took part in two other television series – “In the Heat of the Night” and “Mad About You”. Jean Stapleton, who played his other half on the show, died in 2013 just after she turned 90. Like her colleagues, the acclaimed actress also had a very prosperous career and worked on many film and television projects.

Why is “All in the Family” so great?

But why is the CBS sitcom considered one of the greatest shows of all time? Well, the first thing that played a huge factor in the show’s success was the actors, all of which were carefully selected by the producers themselves. The most memorable persona on the show is Carrol O’Connor’s Archie Bunker. The lovable bigot quickly achieved notoriety with his shocking racial and ethnic slurs, something that was seen as highly controversial by many viewers. The other personalities on the show, Edith Bunker and Gloria Stivic, were just as “controversial” and were often seen using slurs and jargon to insult other characters.

If you ask some of the fans of the show, most of them will tell you that the reason why the show is so successful is because of the way that it depicted controversial issues. Not every show from the 20th century can focus on misogyny, homosexuality, cancer, abortion, rape, menopause, and women’s liberation – but “All in the Family” did. After the first season, which is commonly viewed as lackluster, Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear’s show started to triumph. In fact, for five consecutive years, from 1971 to 1976, it went on to top the yearly Nielsen ratings, making it the first to reach such a milestone. Even in the new millennium, the beloved show continues to appear on several charts such as “TV guide”, “Bravo”, and “Writers Guilds of America”, where it has been praised for its concept, overall production, and of course screenwriting.

Top 5 moments from “All in the Family”

During its eight-year long run on CBS, “All in the Family” won millions of viewers across the world and also a lot of awards. It won numerous Primetime Emmy Awards and is the first of four sitcoms to have all of its lead actors (Carroll O’Connor, Jean Stapleton, Sally Struthers, and Rob Reiner) each win awards in different categories. Most recently, the fan-favorite from the 1970s celebrated its 50th anniversary. To celebrate this iconic series, let’s take a look back at five moments that everyone loves to watch over and over again.

Gloria Has a Full Belly (season 1 / 1971)

In season one, Gloria, Archie’s daughter, suffered a miscarriage. The segment doesn’t last long. It basically of Archie comforting his daughter as they both deal with the extremely upsetting news. This is one of the most serious moments in the entire show, where both O’Connor and Struthers showcased great acting skills.

Sammy’s Visit (season 2 / 1972)

Here, Archie is seen moonlighting as a taxi driver. He has a famous client, the entertainer Sammy Davis, who accidentally leaves his briefcase behind. After he leaves the cab, Sammy is informed about his forgotten belonging. He later gets his briefcase back, and as he leaves Archie’s house, he asks for a picture with Archie. In a surprising moment for Archie, Sammy gives him a kiss on the cheek and immediately makes for the door. This segment alone generated the most on-going studio audience laughter in the history of television.

Archie in the Cellar (season 4 / 1973)

In this segment from season four, the protagonist is left alone in his house. His family is away for the weekend and he accidentally locked himself in the basement. There, he gets drunk and records his testament and last will on a tape recorder. Afterward, he starts praying to “The Lord” to take him away. Back in season one, he had an argument with his next-door neighbor Louis Jefferson about Jesus being a black man. Little did he know, his prayers were answered by a black man to whom Archie drops to his knees and starts asking for forgiveness.

Edith’s 50th Birthday (season 7 / 1977)

In season seven, the beloved Edith Bunker turns 50. Her big milestone birthday is celebrated in a two-part episode. The most shocking thing about this segment is the fact that on her birthday, a man disguised as a police detective breaks into her home and attempts to assault her. But the plot twist here is that the man in question, dressed as a police officer, is a stripper hired by her family members. This is by far the rawest moment in the history of “All in the Family”.

Two’s a Crowd (season 8 / 1978)

Here, Mike is helping his father-in-law, Archie, close up the bar. Accidentally, he locks them inside the storeroom. When the two realize that no one is around to help them, they settle down for the night and start drinking. During their interesting conversation, Mike confronts Archie about his views and the use of the N-word. Archie then replies stating he had a rough childhood because of his abusive father. Despite everything, Archie says he loves him. To close the conversation, for the first time on the show, Mike also tells Archie that he loves him.

After the show’s premiere in January 1971, it amassed a total of 9 seasons and 205 episodes on CBS Network. It broke ground by focusing on issues that were previously considered “unsuitable” for the network television comedy in America. After a successful eight-year run, the acclaimed television show concluded in April 1979. Of course it wasn’t the end of the Bunkers, as both spin-offs and reunion specials followed.

What was your favorite memory from All in the Family? Let us know in the comments! And if you enjoyed this video, be sure to click the like button and show your support for the channel. To see more videos like this, make sure you click subscribe and the notification bell to stay up to date with everything from Facts Verse.

Inside Tony Bennett’s Battle With Alzheimer’s

RIP Peter Mark Richman, Three’s Company Actor