Marcia Wallace died yesterday at age 70 due to complications from pneumonia.
After performing for a year in a Greenwich Village nightclub, Wallace and four fellow entertainer friends formed an improvisational group, The Fourth Wall. In 1968 she appeared for a year Off-Broadway with the group. Afterwards, she made several other appearances in improvisational shows, and, after losing 100 pounds (45 kg) from her previous weight of 230, appeared in a nude production of Dark of the Moon at the avant-garde Mercer Arts Center.
Wallace was a semi-regular on The Merv Griffin Show, appearing over 75 times. When the show moved to Los Angeles, Wallace moved with it at Griffin's request. One of these appearances in March 1972 led to a phone call from TV producer Grant Tinker, who offered her a supporting role specifically designed for her on The Bob Newhart Show on the recommendation of CBS founder Bill Paley. The role of Carol Kester (later Carol Kester Bondurant), the acerbic receptionist to Bob Newhart's character, Dr. Robert Hartley, was written specifically for her.
When that series ended its six-season run in 1978, Wallace began three decades of television appearances as a game show panelist, on shows such as Hollywood Squares, Password Plus and its 1980s spin-off Super Password, Whew!, the 1980s version of Crosswits, Hot Potato, Body Language, The $25,000 Pyramid, Double Talk, Win, Lose or Draw, To Tell the Truth and Match Game. She was also on special celebrity episodes of the Ray Combs version of Family Feud and the Jim Perry version of Card Sharks. In April 2008, Wallace appeared on the interactive show GSN Live.
On one of the last episodes of Taxi, she portrayed herself, chosen as the ideal date of Rev. Jim Ignatowski. Later, Wallace played the maid on the satirical series That's My Bush!, and in 2009, appeared on the daytime soap The Young and the Restless, where she played an inefficient assistant kidnapper, Annie Wilkes. From 1990 until her death, she voiced the recurring role of Edna Krabappel on The Simpsons, which earned her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992 and she appeared in over 100 episodes. The show announced her "irreplaceable" character, Edna Krabappel, will be retired.
breast cancer in 1985, after which she became an activist and lecturer on the subject. Dennis Hawley died from pancreatic cancer in June 1992.
On January 27, 2007, Wallace won the Gilda Radner Courage Award from Roswell Park Cancer Institute for helping educate Americans about the importance of early cancer detection and inspiring others through her 20 years as a breast cancer survivor. Wallace was a member of Delta Zeta sorority and was named the Delta Zeta 2010 Woman of the Year at the 2010 Biennial National Convention in Tucson, Arizona.
Her autobiography, Don't Look Back, We're Not Going That Way, which was published in 2004, recounts the early detection of her breast cancer, the loss of her husband Dennis, her nervous breakdown, her single motherhood and other experiences. She credits the title of the book to her father, who told her that often in childhood.
Good Night Ms. Wallace