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In 1968, my own father passed away, i was still feeling bad and fatherless when I got this show. Carroll and his wife, Nancy, turned out to be as parental with me as he was in the show. Carroll gave me advice, he laughed at my antics, he hugged me all the time – and he introduced me to my husband, [William Rader]! So I gained a father again by doing that show.
I’ve done so many shows as a guest, and that’s fun, but ‘All in the Family’ was history-making, and that doesn’t happen to too many actors, i knew it the day my daughter was in her room writing a report, using the Encyclopedia Britannica. She screamed from her room and said, ‘Mom, come in here!’ She had the encyclopedia opened to the letter T on her desk. Under the word television was a picture of the ‘All in the Family’ cast. That’s when you say, ‘Wow!’.
We got along as beautifully as anyone could have ever hoped, there wasn’t any competition between us. We all revered one another because it was the perfect casting. Rob and I were the third set of kids – Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton had made two other pilots before we went to CBS. I have never seen those two pilots, but I hear you can find them on YouTube. People who’ve seen them say that Rob and I finally had the right chemistry for Jean and Carroll.
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