Death has been particularly busy this weekend, and we must bring the sad news that veteran actress and voice-over stalwart Marcia Wallace died at the age of 70 on Saturday.
Though she had become almost more known for her voice than her face, Wallace was a beloved actress who had enjoyed a long career in front of the camera. Born in Iowa in 1942, she endured a troubled childhood to follow her acting dreams in New York. She initially found small roles in the theatre while substitute teaching in the Bronx, but discovered that her weight limited the types of acting jobs she scored. She broke through that barrier with improv training and was soon working regularly in TV guest spots for shows including Bewitched, Columbo and Love, American Style.
One of her most famous and long-running parts was as chatty secretary Carol Kester on The Bob Newhart Show, a gig that would see her work solidly for seven years. She followed that with more guest appearances on dramas, comedies and TV panel games and won a variety of small roles on film.
Her personal life was fraught with medical issues. She survived breast cancer and nursed her husband through his own fatal battle with the disease until he died in 1992. They had one child. Despite the setbacks, she continued to work, and became famous thanks to her Emmy-winning work as Bart’s long-suffering teacher, Edna Krabappel on The Simpsons.
“I was tremendously saddened to learn this morning of the passing of the brilliant and gracious Marcia Wallace,” producer Al Jean said in a statement to EW. “She was beloved by all at The Simpsons and we intend to retire her irreplaceable character. We had discussed a potential storyline in which a character passed away,” Jean said. “This was not Marcia’s Edna Krabappel. Marcia’s passing is unrelated and again, a terrible loss for all who had the pleasure of knowing her.”