The Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean has issued a statement to Entertainment Weekly confirming that actress Marcia Wallace, who voiced the role of sardonic schoolteacher Edna Krabappel on the show, has died at the age of 70. The cause of death is unclear, although “Reps of The Simpsons” were aware that Mrs. Wallace had become seriously ill. Mr. Jean had this to say on the news of her death: “I was tremendously saddened to learn this morning of the passing of the brilliant and gracious Marcia Wallace. She was beloved by all at The Simpsons and we intend to retire her irreplaceable character.” Mr. Jean also made clear that Mrs. Wallace’s health had nothing to do with a recent announcement that the life of a character on The Simpsons would soon be coming to an end: “This was not Marcia’s Edna Krabappel. Marcia’s passing is unrelated and again, a terrible loss for all who had the pleasure of knowing her.”
A native of Creston, Iowa, Mrs. Wallace broke into stardom in the role of Carol Kester on The Bob Newhart Show from 1972 to 1978. In addition to a variety of guest star appearances on such television shows as Magnum, P.I., Murder, She Wrote, ALF, Full House and Murphy Brown afterwards, her voice-over roles in animation included Darkwing Duck, Captain Planet and the Planeteers and That’s My Bush!. Mrs. Wallace was also known for her activism on cancer awareness after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1985.
Mrs. Wallace’s performance as Edna Krabappel earned her an Emmy for outstanding voice actress in 1992 by virtue of her role in the season 3 episode Bart the Lover, where Bart tries to set things right after he hurts Mrs. Krabappel when he responds to her personals ad by pranking her with fake love letters and setting her up on a phony date.