Marcia Wallace dies; voice of Bart Simpson’s teacher Krabappel, was ‘Bob Newhart’ star

October 28, 2013

Marcia Wallace, who was the voice of scoffing schoolteacher Edna Krabappel on “The Simpsons” and whose wisecracking characters on “The Bob Newhart Show” and other prime-time hits endeared her to generations of TV viewers, died Oct. 25 of pneumonia. She was 70.

Her son, Michael Hawley, told the Los Angeles Times that she had surgery for breast cancer in March but was considered clear of the disease.

On “The Simpsons,” Ms. Wallace provided the voice for world-weary Edna Krabappel (cru-BOP’-pul), who smoked cigarettes, made sarcastic comments and finally found love in the arms of the Simpsons’ neighbor Ned Flanders after fans voted online at the end of season 22 to keep the unlikely couple together.

Ms. Wallace’s trademark “Ha!” punctuated Krabappel’s frequent wisecracks, and her character was known for the catchphrase “Do what I mean, not what I say.”

The longtime TV actress’s credits included a regular part as the acerbic receptionist Carol Kester on “The Bob Newhart Show” (1972-78) and appearances on “Murphy Brown” and “Taxi.”


Actress Marcia Wallace in 1972. (AP)

Ms. Wallace was among six voice actors from “The Simpsons” cast who received a combined Emmy in 1992 for outstanding voice-over performance.

Her husband, Dennis Hawley, died in 1992. Survivors include her son, a brother and sister.

Marcia Wallace was born Nov. 1, 1942, in Creston, Iowa. She majored in English and theater at Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa. After college, she moved to New York City to pursue her dramatic ambitions.

In 1968, she joined an off-Broadway improvisational troupe, the Fourth Wall. A guest appearance on “The Merv Griffin Show” led to her being cast as the sharp-tongued receptionist for psychologist Bob Hartley on “The Bob Newhart Show.”

Ms. Wallace battled a weight problem in her youth but later lost 100 pounds to pursue her career.

“I weighed 230 pounds and I had $150 in the bank,” she wrote in her autobiography, “Don’t Look Back, We’re Not Going That Way!”

“When people ask me, ‘How do you break into show business?’ I say, ‘Well, first of all, your ready cash should at least equal your weight.’ ”

— From news services

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