Remembering The Irreplaceable Marcia Wallace
A few days ago we lost Marcia Wallace, one of the finest voice actors of any era and a simply tremendous, Emmy-winning comedian. She was what no good sitcom could do without: a supporting talent who brought the world of the show to life in vivid detail. From acidic, man-crazed receptionist Carol Kester at Dr. Hartley’s office in The Bob Newhart Show (a part written just for her) to lonely, soulful elementary school teacher Edna Krabappel on The Simpsons, she delighted each generation of TV viewers anew.
What you may not know is that Wallace also made appearances on almost every series of note from the early 1970s on, including Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, Columbo, The Love Boat, Magnum, P.I., Murder, She Wrote, and ALF. As a sassy White House maid, she was the saving grace of short-lived Trey Parker and Matt Stone show That’s My Bush!—unfortunately, there’s no YouTube evidence of it. But this Simpsons montage of Mrs. Krabappel’s signature, tart, one-note laugh is a fitting tribute to her sense of character and killer timing.
Perhaps the only thing as wonderful as her performances was Wallace herself, a long-time survivor of and activist against breast cancer, and a warm person who nonetheless didn’t mince words. Check out this short interview in which she rolls her eyes at the concept of so-called “reality” TV at a time when that’s all anyone seems able to talk about. We hope scripts come back into fashion, too, Marcia.