TV News: Marcia Wallace, Edna Krabappel on ‘The Simpsons,’ Dies at 70

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LOS ANGELES – Marcia Wallace, who created two classic TV roles on “The Bob Newhart Show” and “The Simpsons,” passed away in Los Angeles, according to her agent on Saturday. She was 70 years old. In the 1970s, she was known as Carol Kester, Bob Hartley’s assistant on that Newhart show. In 1990 – one season after “The Simpsons” began – she took on the voice role of Edna Krabappel, the frazzled and man-hungry fourth grade teacher of Bart Simpson.

Marcia Karen Wallace was born in Creston, Iowa, and began her theater career in college. The day she graduated she headed to New York City with $150 dollars in her pocket and a dream to be an actor.

Marcia Wallace at the Hollywood Celebrities & Memorabilia Show in Chicago, 2010
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for

“I had more guts than brains,” she told in a 2010 interview. “I wanted to be a journalist, but my journalism teacher back home said, ‘hon, you have no nose for news.’ Go into drama. So I did. I took off to New York.”

She appeared off-Broadway and in an improv group called “The Fourth Wall.” It was there she was discovered by a producer of “The Merv Griffin Show” (1962-86) – “It was a rainy night, and his casting guy just happened in,” she told “It was an incredible stroke of luck. He liked me that night, and called me in to meet Merv. And then 75 episodes later…I loved Merv and I loved everything about that show.”

Marcia Wallace
Edna Krabappel of ‘The Simpsons’
Photo credit: FOX Network

It was that semi-regular status on that talk show that got her the audition for her first recognizable television role. The Chairman of the CBS-TV network, William S. Paley, saw Wallace on the Griffin show, and personally invited her to appear as Carol Kester on “The Bob Newhart Show.” She was with the show for all six seasons.

During the Newhart run, Wallace also did guest roles on “The Brady Bunch,” “Bewitched” and afterward on “Charles in Charge,” “Murder She Wrote,” “Full House” and “A Different World.” She began her second most familiar role in 1990, as the voice of Edna Krabappel on “The Simpsons,” and remained with that semi-regular character to the present day.

When asked by what Carol and Edna would talk about over cocktails, Wallace didn’t hesitate, “Men. Carol had better luck than poor Edna, she is looking for love in all the wrong places…She had a thing with the Comic Book Guy, but he’s too weird for anybody…And she once told Bart he was the most interesting male in her life. That is so depressing I want to cry.” [laughs]

Click here for the full 2010 interview. Source material for this article came from the Wikipedia and Marcia Wallace, 1942-2013. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Senior Staff Writer

© 2013 Patrick McDonald,

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