(RNN) - Actress Jean Stapleton died at her New York City home, her family announced Saturday.
Stapleton died Friday from natural causes at the age of 90.
Her role as "Edith Bunker" opposite Carroll O'Connor's character "Archie Bunker" in the 1970s sitcom All in the Family earned her three Emmys and eight Emmy nominations.
Edith's lovable and simple-witted personality, for which audiences loved her, took some of the edge off the brash and bigoted presence of her TV husband. Though Archie made no attempt to hide his disdain for minorities and his liberal son-in-law, it never occurred to Edith to hold a slight against anyone.
It was a perfect combination, and after a somewhat slow start the TV ratings took a huge uptick.
All in the Family was ranked as the No. 1 CBS series for an unprecedented five years in a row and was on the air for a total of eight years.
In addition to race and other hot-button social and political issues in the turbulent '70s, the show also broke ground by dealing with breast cancer and menopause.
Two other roles garnered Emmy nominations for Stapleton - as former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt in a 1982 TV movie and as "Aunt Vivian" on the series Grace Under Fire.
Stapleton was born Jeanne Murray in New York City on Jan. 19, 1923.
Performance seemed to be in her blood. Her mother Marie Stapleton Murray was an opera singer, and her father Joseph Murray was a billboard salesman. Her brother Jack and a few cousins were stage and vaudeville performers.
She made her TV debut in 1952 in Robert Montgomery Presents, but her training as an actress came on stage. Stapleton appeared in the original Broadway casts of the musicals Damn Yankees, Bells are Ringing and Funny Girl.
Some of her more contemporary roles were on the big screen, including the 1998 comedy-romance You've got Mail and Michael in 1996.
It brings to wonder how much higher her star could have risen if she had not turned down certain roles.
Murder, She Wrote was a wildly successful show and made Angela Lansbury a household name, but it was originally offered to Stapleton.
Stapleton's husband William Putch died in 1983 one month after their 26th wedding anniversary, and the couple had two children.
She is survived by both children, who each work in TV - director John Putch and producer Pamela Putch.
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