Marcia Wallace, star of the small screen for over forty years, has passed away in her home in Los Angeles. She was 70 years old.
Although the current generation will know Marcia Wallace best for her role as Edna Krabappel, Bart's teacher on 'The Simpsons,' Wallace appeared on a number of hit American television shows, including 'The Brady Bunch,' 'Columbo,' 'Love, American Style,' 'The Love Boat,' 'Magnum P.I.' and a career-making role on 'The Bob Newhart Show.' On 'Newhart,' Wallace played Carol Kester, the hilarious and neurotic receptionist. More recently, Wallace appeared on 'Young & The Restless' and the short-lived comedy 'That's My Bush!,' but she'll always be remembered for Mrs. Krabappel's characteristic "HA!," a role that she played for over 100 episodes and won a Primetime Emmy Award for in 1992.
Wallace’s close friend Cathryn Michon, who co-wrote and directed the actress’ final movie 'Muffin Top' (forthcoming), released the following in a statement: "She passed at 9 PM last night due to complications from breast cancer of which she was a long and proud survivor and advocate for women and healing. Ironically it was during breast cancer awareness month during which she was always a funny ray of hope for so many. I’m devastated."
Yeardley Smith, Wallace's 'The Simpsons' co-star, wrote to her departed friend this morning, stating "Heaven is now a much funnier place because of you." Given how 'The Simpsons' have handled the passing of actors in the past, refusing to recast the character, one would expect that the final appearance of Mrs. Krabappel is drawing nigh. Whereas characters voiced by Phil Hartman, such as Troy McLure and Lionel Hutz, merely ceased appearing on the program, it's likely that an episode dedicated to Krabappel will be written, as Bart will be needing a new teacher.
Wallace was a frequent spokesperson for breast cancer awareness and research, helping to raise money and support survivors. Her tragic passing will not only touch all of her fans, but will draw further attention to a cause which she supported passionately throughout her life.
UPDATE: 'The Simpsons' producer Al Jean confirmed that the Edna Krabappel character will be retired, in the wake of Wallace's passing.