Best remembered by the public for her role as "Edith Bunker" on the TV series "All in the Family" (1968).
Cousin of Betty Jane Watson.
In an episode of the courtroom drama series, "The Defenders" (1961), "The Defenders: The Hidden Jungle (#2.11)" (1962), which aired 1st December 1962, an unknown actress at this time, she played a woman who witnessed a murder. In the episode, while on the witness stand, she is asked to point out the murderer. The actor playing the murderer was another unknown named Carroll O'Connor, who later starred with her in "All in the Family" (1968).
Is a favorite of playwright Horton Foote, for whom she has acted in numerous plays, most recently "The Carpetbagger's Children" at Lincoln Center (Closed June 2002).
Portrayed "Sister Miller" in the stage version of Damn Yankees! and reprised her role in the movie Damn Yankees! (1958).
Ran Totem Pole Playhouse, a Summerstock Theatre, in Caledonia State Park, outside Chambersburg, PA. Her husband was from the area. She and her children still visit frequently.
Received an honorary degree from Wilson College and has a scholarship named after her.
She won the role of Edith Bunker on "All in the Family" (1968) when creator Norman Lear saw her perform in "Damn Yankees" on Broadway.
Was offered a role in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), but turned it down to work on the pilot of "All in the Family" (1968).
Was offered the role of Jessica Fletcher on "Murder, She Wrote" (1984), but declined. (Ultimately, the role went to Angela Lansbury.)