Emmy-winner Marcia Wallace, who proved equally adept as both Bob Newhart’s receptionist and Bart Simpson’s teacher during a four-decade television career, has died at age 70.
Her friend, actress and writer Cathryn Michon, who co-wrote and directed Wallace’s last film Muffin Top: A Love Story, tells E! News that she died of complications from other illnesses, not breast cancer, which was widely reported.
“She was an outspoken advocate for Breast Cancer awareness, and as a game show queen, this was one game she was determined to win, and so she did,” Michon said.
The American actress died in Los Angeles of complications from pneumonia, as her son Michael Hawley has said.
Wallace won an Emmy award in 1992 for her work on The Simpsons, and the show’s executive producer Al Jean paid tribute to her in a statement posted online.
“I was tremendously saddened to learn this morning of the passing of the brilliant and gracious Marcia Wallace,” producer Al Jean said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly. “She was beloved by all at The Simpsons and we intend to retire her irreplaceable character.”
“Earlier we had discussed a potential storyline in which a character passed away,” Jean continued. “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.”
Wallace’s Simpsons cast members took to Twitter to express their condolences.
“Cheers to the hilarious, kind, fab Marcia Wallace, who has taken her leave of us,”Yeardley Smith said, who is the voice of Lisa Simpson. “Heaven is now a much funnier place b/c of you.”
“So sad to learn-through Twitter, first-of the passing of the wonderful Marcia Wallace. Sorely missed already,” Harry Shearer tweeted, who has portrayed many different characters.
The longtime TV actor’s credits ranged from playing a wisecracking receptionist on The Bob Newhart Show to appearances on Candice Bergen’s Murphy Brown.
Wallace’s career began with a semi-regular stint on the “Merv Griffin Show,”and also involved successful forays on the New York and Los Angeles state where she appeared in productions of “The Vagina Monologues,” “Gypsy” and “Prisoner of Second Avenue.”
On “The Simpsons,” Wallace provided the voice for world-weary Edna Krabappel, who smoked cigarettes, made sarcastic comments and finally found love in the arms of Simpson’s neighbor Ned Flanders after fans voted online at the end of season 22 to keep the unlikely couple together.
Wallace’s trademark “Ha!” punctuated Krabappel’s frequent wisecracks, and her character was also known for the catchphrase, “Do what I mean, not what I say.”
Wallace, in addition to her roles on the two hit series, made guest appearances over the years on shows from “Bewitched” to “Murder, She Wrote” to “Full House.” She was also a regular on “The $25,000 Pyramid” and “Hollywood Squares,” reports the NY Daily News.
Wallace’s final role is in Muffin Top: A Love Story, a film set for release in 2014 in which she appears with her son, who is also an actor.
Ms. Wallace published an autobiography “Don’t Look Back, We’re Not Going that Way,” in 2004. Her husband, Dennis Hawley, died in 1992.