Jean Stapleton as Edith Bunker on All In The Family
Movies - TV
The Edith Bunker Plotline All In The Family’s Writers Struggled To Resolve
In the "All in the Family" episode "Archie the Hero," the bigoted Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor) saves the life of an unconscious woman in the back of his taxi.
When the woman, Beverly LaSalle (Lori Shannon), comes to Archie's place to thank him, he finds out he gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a man in drag.
Edith (Jean Stapleton) immediately loves Beverly, and the two become friends. Archie is still an a-hole but begrudgingly accepts that his wife is close with a drag queen.
Beverly was in a few episodes, including the tragic and intense "Edith's Crisis of Faith," when she's attacked by a gang of homophobes while walking with Mike (Rob Reiner).
Edith is struck hard when her friend is beaten to death. Beverly's murder causes her to lose her faith in God, wondering why He would allow so much hate in the world.
As Edith was devoutly religious, losing faith was a big deal. Creator Norman Lear told Deadline it was the harrowing, emotionally complex story he had always hoped to tell.
Pressured to restore Edith's faith, the writers spent weeks on it until someone wondered, "'What happens to Archie when she loses her faith?' Son of a b****," Lear said.
"In that answer, the regaining of her faith was inherent. She had to regain it to save Archie because he depended on a strong Edith," Lear explained.