“All In The Family” is one of the greatest TV shows ever, and it had some lessons that I think are still useful today.
One of the actors it helped become successful is Sally Struthers. Even though she looks quite different now, with her distinctive blonde hair, she’s still working in the industry.
Many of us remember Sally Struthers as Gloria Stivic from the 1970s sitcom All In The Family. This show, set in Queens, New York, about a working-class white family, was incredibly popular, getting 73 award nominations and winning 42.
But if you were born after the show’s peak, you might not realize how groundbreaking it was. Before All In The Family, funny TV shows didn’t often talk about things that were considered off-limits or societal problems. This show tackled those issues in a humorous or sometimes sad way.
When you watch old episodes on YouTube, it can make you feel young again, laugh, and forget about what’s happening now. Many problems from back then are still around, but they were presented in a funnier way.
The main characters are Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor), Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton), Gloria Bunker-Stivic (Sally Struthers), Michael Stivic (Rob Reiner), and Stephanie Mills (Danielle Brisebois). They had a special chemistry with each other.
In my opinion, Sally Struthers was a versatile and underrated actress. She even sang in some episodes, and you can see how she changed throughout the show.
She once said, “At first, I behaved like an idiot on the set. I thought that was the way to get people to like me. I’ve been educated on the set. I’ve learned to be myself. And now, they respect me.”
When Sally started on the show in January 1971, she was a 22-year-old unknown with little TV experience. She was discovered by producer Norman Lear while dancing on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and she called him a “father of us all.”
Even though Sally didn’t have much experience, she did a great job, just like the rest of the cast. Six months after the show started, All In The Family became really popular, and Sally became a celebrity. When she was at the height of her fame, it was tough for her because, at just 22, she couldn’t go out without being surrounded by fans.
In the early seasons of the show, Sally enjoyed playing Gloria Stivic, but she didn’t get many chances to fully explore the role or show off her great acting skills. During a break from All in the Family, she told the producers that she wanted to try something different.
“When we take a break, I want to do something else,” she said. “There are many ways to portray a woman. I’d like to play a murderer, an unwed mother, a nun, and an old Jewish mother. By the end of my career, I want people to say I’m as funny as Judy Holliday and as respected as Ruth Gordon.”
But sometimes, being known for one type of role can hurt an actor’s career. You’ve probably seen people become famous for one show, and then everything they do after that doesn’t quite measure up.
Sadly, Sally’s experience was a bit like that. After leaving All In The Family, she got leading roles in a few more shows and even won two Emmy awards for her performance as Gloria. But she didn’t get many offers, and soon, she had trouble finding work.