Marcia Wallace, who gained fame onThe Bob Newhart Showand whom audiences embraced as teacher Edna Krabappel onThe Simpsons, has died. She was 70 years old.
"I was tremendously saddened to learn this morning of the passing of the brilliant and gracious Marcia Wallace," saidSimpsonsexecutive producer Al Jean in a statement. toEntertainment Weekly. "She was beloved by all atThe Simpsonsand we intend to retire her irreplaceable character."
The actress' popularity spanned generations. She appeared onThe Merv Griffin Showover 75 times, and earned fame playing Carol Kester, the clever, sarcastic secretary onThe Bob Newhart Show.She later nabbed an Emmy nomination for a turn onMurphy Brownas 'Secretary 66' in 1994.
Wallace won an Emmy for voicing Bart Simpson's dry teacher on the Fox animated series. AsTHRnotes, the 1992Simpsonsepisode for which she won found Ms. Krabappel giving Bart a month of detention. He exacted revenge by responding to her newspaper singles ad. Wallace would go on to star in 177 episodes ofThe Simmpsons, her character's iconic "Ha!" a familiar echo.
Wallace's friend Cathryn Michon, who co-wrote and directed Wallace's last film, the upcomingMuffin Top, toldDeadlinethat the actress passed away at 9 p.m. on Friday night "due to complications from breast cancer of which she was a long and proud survivor and advocate for women and healing." Wallace was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1985. "Ironically (her death) was during breast cancer awareness month during which she was always a funny ray of hope for so many," said Michon.
Just before aBob Newhart Showreunion in 2007, co-star Suzanne Pleshette told USA TODAY she and Wallace had bonded over both surviving cancer. "We've been able to be completely open with each other, which I don't even do with my other girlfriends," said Pleshette.
In 2004, Wallace published an autobiography,Don't Look Back, We're Not Going That Way.The comedian aired out the book's contents in the subtitle, which readHow I Overcame a Rocky Childhood, a Nervous Breakdown, Breast Cancer, Widowhood, Fat, Fire & Menopausal Motherhood and Still Managed to Count My Lucky Chickens.
The actress was also a common fixture on game shows, includingHollywood Squares, The $25,000 Pyramid, To Tell the TruthandMatch Game. Wallace's husband of six years, hotelier Dennis Hawley died in 1992. Their son, Michael Hawley, recently appeared with her inMuffin Top.
Upon news of Wallace's death, a video of Mrs. Krabappel'smemorable "Ha!"moments began to circulate on Twitter.