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The producers of The Simpsons plan to “retire” Bart’s jaded yet hopelessly romantic teacher Edna Krabappel following the death on Friday of voice actor Marcia Wallace.
“I was tremendously saddened to learn this morning of the passing of the brilliant and gracious Marcia Wallace,” showrunner Al Jean said in a statement issued Saturday. “She was beloved by all at The Simpsons and we intend to retire her irreplaceable character.”
Introduced in 1990 in the second episode of the series, the cigarette-smoking Edna has been not only Bart’s frequent foil but the longtime on again, off again girlfriend of Principal Skinner. After dating many of Springfield’s least-desirable bachelors — Skinner, Comic Book Guy, Moe, Krusty, Lenny, Carl, et al — she finally married Ned Flanders in Season 23.
Jean noted that the retirement of Ms. Krabappel has nothing to do with a widely discussed potential storyline in which a regular Simpsons character will pass away. “Marcia’s passing is unrelated and again, a terrible loss for all who had the pleasure of knowing her,” he said.
Before her Emmy-winning performance on The Simpsons, Wallace was best known for her role as receptionist Carol Kester on the 1970s sitcom The Bob Newhart Show and as a fixture of such television game shows as Hollywood Squares, Password Plus and The $25,000 Pyramid. Wallace passed away at age 70 due to complications from pneumonia.