Setting: I am watching a documentary about Broadway musicals as Jewish legacy
. Irving Berlin’s daughter is speaking about anti-Semitic responses
to ‘God Bless America’ that complained who was a Jew to be asking God to bless
America. Ainah is at the computer working on data for her website.
me: It’s not as if he’s asking Jesus! They wrote the first
book! Without the Jews Christians would be S.O.L. You can’t have Next Gen if
there’s no TOS!
me: I guess that makes Islam DS-9.
me: So if that’s the case… then are the Mormons Voyager?
had a vast career beyond “All in the Family”
– it is more likely her portrayal of Eleanor Roosevelt I see in my mind
whenever I think of the famous First Lady and not the real thing – but the
moment I will never forget, when she touched my heart, was in the character of
Edith Bunker. In “Edith's Crisis of Faith" (originally aired in 1977 I saw
it in syndication a few years later) Ms. Stapleton’s Edith mourns her dear
friend Beverly LaSalle who died from injuries resulting from a mugging… that
turned into a gay bashing. Beverly was a transvestite and professional female
impersonator played by San Francisco drag star Lori Shannon and was originally
introduced in “Archie the Hero” in 1975 appearing in a total of three episodes
over two years. Through the lens of Edith’s well established innocence
Stapleton’s raw emotion was focused to such a fine point that no one watching
could not experience with her the confusion, loss, anger even rage that is
grief. At a time when gay people were all but invisible on television and
considered expendable to the point that gay bashings were barely investigated
even in New York there was Jean Stapleton in primetime giving a voice to the
pain of our community and of those who love us. She held it up to the light so
that America couldn’t look away and said these are people, they have value,
they are loved, how can you possibly think otherwise? For this she will ever
have my gratitude and my respect, may she rest in peace.
1923 - 2013