Even before a single episode of “All in the Family” aired, Struthers had already found herself raising her voice in exasperation at her onscreen family’s antics. Speaking to the New York Post in honor of the ground-breaking sitcom’s 50th anniversary in 2021, the actor recalled the less-than-ideal circumstances under which she landed her role on the show (and how they wound up working in her favor):

“I was very young and certainly had no crystal ball — I had just been let go from ‘The Tim Conway Comedy Hour’ […] when I went to read for [the role of Gloria] for this man named Norman Lear. I had laryngitis, and they handed me a yelling scene to do. I’m sure that’s why he remembered me […] It was just another job. There was no way to know what it was to become.”

Nor, for that matter, did Struthers foresee growing so close to her onscreen father and mother, Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton, in their real lives. “I was so in love with Carroll and Jean. My own father died two years before I got ‘All in the Family’ and Carroll became my dad, off-screen as well as on-screen,” Struthers told the outlet, later adding that she “loved Jean with all my being. She was such an angel.” That affection arguably showed in Gloria’s interactions with Archie (O’Connor) and Edith (Stapleton) on the show itself, allowing their squabbling and familial dysfunction to ring authentic and proving that Norman Lear’s instincts were right on the money — viewers were, in fact, ready and willing to watch a sitcom that took an honest look at working-class Americans.

Thank goodness Struthers didn’t have to yell herself hoarse for nothing.



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