Sunday, October 27, 2013
R.I.P. Marcia Wallace
Depending on your age, she is best known as “Carol Kester,” the receptionist on THE BOB NEWHART SHOW or the voice of schoolteacher, Edna Krabappel on THE SIMPSONS.
I’ve never met anyone who could deal with adversity with as much good humor as Marcia. And she dealt with a series of them. Breast cancer, her husband dying, a fire in her house. How she did it I'll never know. Every year Marcia would send a Christmas card that included a two-page letter detailing her past year. Oy. To read the way she handled one calamity after another, you didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I told her I both looked forward to and dreaded receiving her Christmas cards.
A few years ago Marcia wrote her autobiography. I recommend it. Typical Marcia: her teenage son announced that he wanted to be an actor. Marcia said, “Oh really? You want to be an actor. Act like you like me.”
One of the weirdest occurrences of my life involved Marcia. A number of years ago I was in the Nashville airport getting ready to fly back home to Los Angeles. Over the PA they paged "Bob Hartley." That was Bob Newhart's name on THE BOB NEWHART SHOW. That struck me as kind of odd and then five minutes later Marcia Wallace walks by. She was on her book tour. We both hummed the TWILIGHT ZONE theme.
She weathered career ups and downs like she weathered everything else – with grace and perspective. I was so thrilled that she landed the SIMPSONS gig. If anyone deserved good things in their life it was Marcia. I hope there’s a heaven because she was made for that place. Talk about perfect casting.
And if there is an afterlife, Marcia, could you please still keep those Christmas cards coming? And maybe pop up in an airport? With Marcia anything is possible.