Marcia Karen Wallace (born November 1, 1942 – October 25, 2013) appeared in two episodes of The Brady Bunch, appearing in different parts. A talented actress, comedienne and game show panelist, Marcia primarily known for her roles in television situation comedies. She is perhaps best known for her roles as receptionist Carol Kester on the 1970s CBS-TV sitcom, The Bob Newhart Show, and as the voice of Edna Krabappel on the animated series The Simpsons, for which she won an Emmy for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992.
Marcia Wallace was born and raised in Creston, Iowa, the oldest of three children of Arthur "Poke" Wallace and wife Joann. Her father owned and operated a general merchandise store, "Wallace Sundries", where Marcia, her sister Sharon, and brother Jim would often help out. While in high school a teacher encouraged Wallace to consider a career in acting after she did well in a school play. Prior to that Wallace had an interest in becoming a journalist. Following graduation from Creston High School Wallace attended Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa, whch had offered her a full scholarship. At Parsons she majored in English and Theater, performing in such productions as Brigadoon and The Music Man.
Wallace moved from Iowa to New York the day that she graduated from college with $150 dollars in her pocket. To make ends meet she performed in summer stock, typed scripts, did commercials and worked as a substitute English teacher in the Bronx. After performing for a year in a Greenwich Village nightclub Wallace and four fellow entertainer friends formed an improvisational group, The Fourth Wall. In 1968 she appeared for a year Off-Broadway with the her group. Afterwards, she made several other appearances in improvisational shows, and, after losing 100 lbs from her previous weight of 230, appeared in a nude production of Dark of the Moon at the avant-garde Mercer Arts Center. She also did commercials and studied with renowned acting teacher Uta Hagen.
Wallace was a semi-regular on The Merv Griffin Show, appearing over 75 times. When the show moved to the west coast, Wallace moved to Hollywood with it at Griffin's request. One of these appearances in March 1972 led to a phone call from TV producer Grant Tinker, who offered her a supporting role on The Bob Newhart Show on the recommendation of CBS founder Bill Paley  The role of Carol Kester (later Carol Kester Bondurant), receptionist to Bob Newhart, was written specifically for her.
When that series ended its six-season run in 1978, Wallace began three decades of television appearances as a game show panelist, on shows such as Hollywood Squares, Password Plus and its 1980s spin-off Super Password, Whew!, the 1980s version of Crosswits, Hot Potato, Body Language, The $25,000 Pyramid, Double Talk, Win, Lose or Draw, To Tell the Truth and Match Game. She was also on special celebrity episodes of the Ray Combs hosted version of Family Feud and the Jim Perry version of Card Sharks. In April 2008, Wallace appeared on the interactive show GSN Live.
In addition to her game show appearances, Wallace was seen on television as a school principal in two episodes of ALF, played "Mrs. Caruthers" in a few episodes of Full House, and appeared in episode #227 of Bewitched ("Laugh, Clown, Laugh") as Darrin's secretary in 1971. She and Bob Newhart both reprised their signature roles from The Bob Newhart Show in episode #147 of Murphy Brown ("Anything But Cured"). She also appeared on The Brady Bunch twice, once as Marcia's teacher and once as the woman who sold Jan a Mod New Wig in "Will the Real Jan Brady Please Stand Up". Wallace also had guest appearances on Charles In Charge, Murder, She Wrote, Magnum, and A Different World, On Taxi, she portrayed herself, chosen as the ideal date of Rev. Jim Ignatowski. Later, Wallace played the maid on the satirical series That's My Bush!, and in 2009, appeared on the daytime soap The Young and the Restless where she played an inefficient assistant kidnapper, Annie Wilkes. She currently has a recurring role on The Simpsons as Edna Krabappel, which earned her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992 and she has appeared in over 100 episodes.
On film, Marcia appeared in such features as My Mother the Werewolf, Teen Witch and Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go to College. She also played a high school drama teacher who sponsors a Gay Straight Alliance in the 2008 film Tru Loved.
Wallace's work onstage includes An Almost Perfect Person in Los Angeles, which she also produced, a tour of the female version of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple, and productions of Same Time Next Year, Twigs, It Had to Be You, Supporting Cast, Prisoner of Second Avenue, Plaza Suite, Gypsy: A Musical Fable, Promises, Promises, Born Yesterday, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Steel Magnolias and Last of the Red Hot Lovers – in which she played all three roles at various times. She also performed in The Vagina Monologues in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and San Diego.
Marcia Wallace married hotelier Dennis Hawley in May, 1986. The couple adopted an infant son, Michael "Mikey" Hawley. Dennis Hawley died from pancreatic cancer in June, 1992. Wallace was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1985, after which she became an activist and lecturer on the subject. On January 27, 2007, Wallace won the Gilda Radner Courage Award from Roswell Park Cancer Institute for helping educate Americans about the importance of early cancer detection and inspiring others through her 20 years as a breast cancer survivor.
In addition, Marcia is a member of Delta Zeta sorority and was named the Delta Zeta 2010 Woman of the Year at the 2010 Biennial National Convention in Tucson, Arizona.
Her autobiography, Don't Look Back, We're Not Going That Way, which was published in 2004, recounts the early detection of her breast cancer, the loss of her husband Dennis, her nervous breakdown, her single motherhood and other experiences. The title of the book she credits to her father, who told her that often in childhood.
Wallace died from pneumonia and sepsis on October 25, 2013 at age 70, a week before her 71st birthday. Breast cancer was also listed as a significant condition on her death certificate. Wallace was cremated following a private funeral service.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Longden, Tom (10 April 2005). "Creston's Marcia Wallace brings humor to every role". The Des Moines Register via Parsons College alumni website. http://www.parsonscollege.org/content/album/stories/wallace.html. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- ↑ Marcia Wallace at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Biography from MarciaWallace.com
- ↑ Dark of the Moon at the Internet off-Broadway Database
- ↑ "Marcia Wallace". The Speak Well Being Group. http://www.speakwellbeing.com/marcia-wallace.php. Retrieved 2008-12-23.
- ↑ Marcia Wallace at Corporate Artists