In a sad turn of events this weekend, Bart Simpson’s 4th Grade Teacher Edna Krabappel has ventured to the parent/teacher conference in the sky. On Friday night, it was announced that actress Marcia Wallace passed away at the age of 70.
She was born and raised in Creston, Iowa to Arthur “Poke” Wallace and his wife Joann. Her father was a shopkeeper who owned and operated “Wallace Sundries”.
It was originally her intention to become a journalist; however, that changed after a teacher suggested that she take up a career in acting after she performed well in a school play.
Wallace got her big break in television when she was cast as the wise-cracking secretary Carol Kester on The Bob Newhart Show back in 1972; a role which she played for 6 years spanning 139 episodes.
From there she made multiple appearances on popular game shows like Hollywood Squares, The $10,000 Pyramid, Password Plus, The Match Game, and Card Sharks.
However, it would be her role in The Simpsons as lovelorn, wise-cracking 4th Grade teacher Edna Krabappel that she will be most dearly remembered for.
She first appeared on the long-running episodic cartoon series in 1990 in the episode entitled ‘Bart the Genius’. Since then, she has appeared in 177 episodes of the series spanning the course of 23 years. Her last episode was this year’s ‘Treehouse of Horror XXIV’.
The news of her passing was first announced on Twitter by her close friend, radio host Frank DeCaro tweeted the news of his friend’s passing.
Our dear sweet friend Marcia Wallace has died. A walking lesson in comedy. Long live Carol Kester & Edna Krabappel! pic.twitter.com/ms6JPuQ2NL
— Frank DeCaro (@frankdecaroshow) October 26, 2013
Earlier this year, the show had announced their intention to kill of one of the veteran characters of the show; however, they were adamant that Edna Krabappel is not the character they intended to write out.
“Earlier we had discussed a potential storyline in which a character passed away,” Jean said. “This was not Marcia’s Edna Krabappel. Marcia’s passing is unrelated and again, a terrible loss for all who had the pleasure of knowing her.”
It is tradition on The Simpsons that a character be retired when their voice actor passes away. In 1998, when comedian Phil Hartman passed away, the sleazy attorney Lionel Hutz and the actor Troy McClure characters were retired. The same thing can be said for Lunchlady Doris, who was retired when actress Doris Grau passed on in 1995.
In a statement posted to The Simpsons Facebook page, producer Al Jean expressed his sadness regarding her passing and their intention to retire the 4th grade teacher.
“I was tremendously saddened to learn this morning of the passing of the brilliant and gracious Marcia Wallace,” Jean said. “She was beloved by all at The Simpsons and we intend to retire her irreplaceable character.”
I think it is only fair that I leave you with a montage of some of Krabappel’s finest moments, a montage of some of her greatest Ha! Moments.
Rest in Peace, Marcia Wallace. November 1, 1942 – October 25, 2013.