Charles Santore, All in the Family: Carroll O’Connor
All in the Family was a sitcom about the Bunker family, a blue-collar household in Queens, New York. The head of the family, Archie Bunker, is opinionated and nostalgic for the “good old days.” His wife, Edith, is compassionate and more understanding than her husband, but relatively unschooled. Their only child, Gloria, saves money by living in her parents’ home with her husband, Michael. The two couples frequently aggravate each other, representing the differences in values between generations.
Before becoming an actor, Carroll O’Connor (1924–2001) was a highly educated and cultured English professor. He earned his fame with his role as Archie Bunker, portraying him with great exaggeration and wit, but also with vulnerability. O’Connor was politically progressive, and skillfully imbued the series with own personal politics. All in the Family often addressed issues that some considered inappropriate for comedic television— racism, rape, homosexuality, women’s liberation, the Vietnam War—and the program became quite influential.