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Marcia Wallace
Marcia Wallace
Credits
Role Betty
Biographical Information
Birthdate November 1, 1942
Birthplace Creston, Iowa, United States
Death Date October 25, 2013 (age 70)
Death Place Los Angeles, California, United States

Marcia Wallace played Betty in the seventh season episode, "Laugh, Clown, Laugh" (1971).

Biography[]

Born and raised in Creston, Iowa, the daughter of a shopkeeper, Marcia Wallace moved to New York after college to pursue stage acting. She started her onscreen career making regular appearances on The Merv Griffin Show, and in 1971 had bit parts on Bewitched, Columbo, and The Brady Bunch.

A year later, The Bob Newhart Show made her a star. Her flame-haired, feisty, and free-spirited receptionist was a counterpoint to Newhart’s buttoned-down psychiatrist. She played the role of Carol Kester in 139 episodes from 1972-1978.

After that, Wallace became a regular on a litany of game shows such as Match Game, Hollywood Squares, and The $25,000 Pyramid. She guest starred on single episodes of Magnum, P.I., Gimme a Break!, and Murder, She Wrote, among many others, and had a recurring role as Mrs. Caruthers on Full House. She also had a small role in the 1989 film Teen Witch and became a popular voice-over actress in animated shows, playing characters on Darkwing Duck and Captain Planet and the Planeteers. Later, she also co-starred as the housekeeper on the short-lived 2001 Comedy Central spoof of President George W. Bush, That’s My Bush!

She was nominated for outstanding guest actress in a comedy for Murphy Brown, playing the most efficient of the journalist’s constantly changing secretaries — reprising her role as Carol Kester. Adding to the joke, Newhart also made an appearance on that episode.

But it was the droll, chain-smoking, semi-defeated Edna Krabappel on The Simpsons that would give Wallace her defining role. Her work as the cynical, abused, and sarcastic Mrs. Krabappel won her an Emmy for outstanding voice actress in 1992.

The actress was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1985 but fought it back and became a prominent activist and advocate for early detection procedures. In 2007, she won the Gilda Radner Courage Award from Roswell Park Cancer Institute for her decades of work for the cause.

She was married for six years to hotel owner Dennis Hawley, until his death in 1992 from pancreatic cancer. The couple had one son, Michael Hawley, and Wallace wrote about her illness, the loss of her husband, and the challenges of motherhood in her 2004 autobiography Don’t Look Back, We’re Not Going That Way. Despite tackling dark issues, readers acclaimed the book for its sense of humor and optimism.

Wallace, who was a breast cancer survivor for 28 years, died on October 25, 2013. She was 70.

Sources[]

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