Marcia Wallace had enjoyed a respectable career as a comic actress for two decades before she became the voice of Bart Simpson's cynical and world-weary fourth-grade teacher Edna Krabappel and found worldwide fame among the denizens of Springfield. The sarcastic, chain-smoking, gruff-voiced educationist finally found love in the unlikely arms of the Simpsons' god-fearing neighbour Ned Flanders.
Her wisecracking characters on The Bob Newhart Show and other prime-time hits such as the Candice Bergen vehicle Murphy Brown had already endeared her to generations of American television viewers. She also made numerous guest appearances on shows like The Love Boat, Magnum PI, Columbo and Murder, She Wrote. Born in Iowa, in 1942, she made her TV debut in an episode of Bewitched in 1971.
On The Simpsons her trademark "Ha!" punctuated Krabappel's frequent wisecracks. After years of looking for love, in the finale of the 22nd series in 2011 she began a relationship with Ned Flanders. Producers held an online vote to decide the couple's fate and the next series-opener revealed that fans wanted them to make a go of things. An onscreen disclaimer declared, "What our fans have joined together let no writer rip asunder", and it was later revealed that they had married in secret.
Harry Shearer, the voice of Ned Flanders, said Wallace "brought this huge, positive energy" to her work. When her death was announced, the executive producer of The Simpsons, Al Jean, called her character "irreplaceable" and said Edna would be retired from the show.
Marcia Karen Wallace, actress: born Creston, Iowa 1 November 1942; married 1986 Dennis Hawley (died 1992; one adopted son); died 25 October 2013.