The plan was always for The Simpsons to lose a major character this year, but not like this. Marcia Wallace, 70, star on The Bob Newhart Show and voice of the wisecracking fourth grade teacher Edna Krabappel on The Simpsons, died this weekend. Wallace survived breast cancer 28 years ago, but no cause of death has been given so far.
The TV world mourned Wallace's death after news broke late Friday night. She was "brilliant and gracious," Simpsons showrunner Al Jean said in a statement. "She was beloved by all at The Simpsons and we intend to retire her irreplaceable character." Wallace won an Emmy in 1992 for her work as Bart's elementary school teacher, a voice she's provided for 24 years. Before that, Wallace gained fame through her appearances on The Merv Griffin Show and then as Carol Kester, the receptionist on The Bob Newhart Show. Longtime fans appropriately remembered Wallace's brilliant body of work over social media:
— Drew Magary (@drewmagary) October 26, 2013
Throw a yoyo in the dumpster in memory of Marcia Wallace.
Think of Mrs. Krabappel's broken heart when she's stood up by "Woodrow." So much soul and pathos in Marcia Wallace's performance. #RIP— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) October 26, 2013
One of my favorite Marcia Wallace appearances was when Carol became Murphy Brown's one good secretary, until Bob came for her. So funny.— Linda Holmes (@nprmonkeysee) October 26, 2013
Marcia Wallace, the voice of Edna Krabappel, has died. Gordie Howe will mourn her passing.— Michael Petrella (@mpetrella) October 26, 2013
Earlier this year, Simpsons producers announced plans to kill off one of the show's longstanding characters. This was not the plan. "Marcia’s passing is unrelated and again, a terrible loss for all who had the pleasure of knowing her," Jean said. When The Simpsons' voice actors die, their characters are usually retired rather than recast. Jean said the same thing would happen with Ms. Krabappel, who married Ned Flanders in recent seasons.