Categories: Story

This ’70s Blonde Bombshell Still Shines Bright on Screen

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All in the Family was one of the greatest shows ever, with lessons that remain relevant today. It catapulted several actors to stardom, including Sally Struthers.

Today, the beautiful woman with her signature blonde hair looks quite different, but she’s still active in the entertainment industry.

A Precocious Talent

For many, Sally Struthers will always be remembered for her portrayal of Gloria Stivic in the 1970s sitcom All in the Family. The iconic show, centered around a working-class white family in Queens, New York, garnered an astonishing 73 award nominations and 42 wins during its run.

It’s hard for those born after the show’s heyday to grasp just how groundbreaking it was. Previous sitcoms rarely touched on social issues and taboos, but All in the Family tackled them head-on, often with a mix of humor and heartbreak.

Watching old episodes on YouTube brings back a sense of youth, providing laughs and a welcome distraction from current events. Many issues from back then remain relevant today, though the show presents them in a comical way.

The main characters included Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor), Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton), Gloria Bunker-Stivic (Sally Struthers), Michael Stivic (Rob Reiner), and Stephanie Mills (Danielle Brisebois), all of whom shared a magical chemistry.

Sally Struthers was, in my opinion, a highly underestimated and versatile actor. She even sang in a few episodes, and her growth throughout the series was evident.

“At first, I acted like an idiot on set, thinking that would make people like me. But I learned to be myself, and now they respect me,” she told the Longview Daily News in 1973.

When the series premiered in January 1971, Sally was a 22-year-old unknown with minimal TV experience. Producer Norman Lear, whom Sally described as a “father to us all,” discovered her talent while she was dancing on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

Despite her inexperience, Sally excelled, just like the rest of the cast. Six months after the premiere, she was a certified star as All in the Family became the No. 1 show on television.

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At the height of her fame, she could barely walk outside or go to dinner without being mobbed by fans. For a young 22-year-old, it was quite a challenging experience.

During the show’s first seasons, Sally enjoyed playing Gloria Stivic but felt limited in developing the character and showcasing her acting abilities. During a hiatus, she expressed a desire to take on more dramatic roles.

“When we go on hiatus, I want to do something different,” she said. “There are so many ways to represent a woman. I want to play a murderess, an unwed mother, a nun, and an old Jewish mother. By the end of my career, I want to be as funny as Judy Holliday and as revered as Ruth Gordon.”

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Unfortunately, typecasting can hinder an actor’s career. Sally experienced this to some extent.

She won two Emmy awards for her role as Gloria and landed lead roles in other shows after leaving All in the Family. However, the offers soon dried up.

Sally Struthers Today

Today, Sally Struthers is 75 years old and lives in Los Angeles. She remains active in the entertainment industry, primarily working in theater for the past 25 years, though she’s open to other opportunities.

“I’m here. I’m a Los Angeles resident. I’ve been available. I don’t know why I am never asked to audition. I am never offered a job here. But in Texas, Maine, Virginia, New York, or Connecticut, there’s always work for me. They clamor to have me back the next year in something else,” she says.

Over the years, Sally has faced ups and downs, including the loss of her mother to Alzheimer’s in 1996. She has also endured mean comments about her looks and weight, mostly from random people on social media.

However, she has navigated these challenges with charm, integrity, and a sense of humor.

“From the time I could walk and say a few words, my whole aim in life was to make people laugh,” she told Spectrum News in 2022. “When I hear others laugh at something I’ve done, I’m transported to heaven. Laughter is my thing.”

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