06/01/2013 07:30 pm ET Updated Aug 01, 2013

Goodbye, Edith Darling


This will be short and sweet. Never as sweet as I'd wish it to be if I took a month to write it. I only just learned that Jean Stapleton, our beloved Edith -- or Edith, our beloved Jean Stapleton -- has passed.

Back in 1971, possibly the first time I was asked by a journalist "What is Jean Stapleton like?", my reflexive response was: "She's always where she is." I was surprised by my answer; I'd never had the thought before and never knew it resided within me. Can I reach deeply enough inside me now to express how much that, the idea and Jean Stapleton herself, has meant to me?

I was at my computer when her glorious children, John and Pam, phoned me, and I told them I was working on my memoir, and reflecting on the time I was a gone-to-work father to my personal family on Mooncrest Drive while also fathering Archie and Edith and three other families on CBS. And I added -- so, at 90, here still is Jean Stapleton, "always where she is," helping me to see my own frailties and humanity yet again. No one gave more profound "How to be a Human Being" lessons than Jean Stapleton. Goodbye, Edith darling.