Edna Krabappel was the hard-luck fourth grade teacher on The Simpsons for more than 20 years, but with the death of voice actress Marcia Wallace the show has decided to retire the long-serving character.
Wallace died Friday at age 70 from complications related to breast cancer,
On Saturday, Simpsons executive producer Al Jean said the show would honor Wallace by retiring Edna Krabappel.
“I was tremendously saddened to learn this morning of the passing of the brilliant and gracious Marcia Wallace,” Jean said in a statement. “She was beloved by all at The Simpsons and we intend to retire her irreplaceable character.
“You fall in love with these people when you see them as characters on television, but when met Marcia you loved her even more,” Jean said. “She was sweet, funny, not at all pretentious. She was a breast cancer survivor for over 20 years and she was always chipper and just a wonderful person to be around.”
Edna Krabappel was one of only a handful of characters to last the show’s entire run and be featured in every season. She first appeared on The Simpsons in the second episode of the first season in 1990.
She was shown as a disinterested and often boozy divorcee, constantly on the lookout for men. She fluctuated between a background character and a featured player, with major story lines including getting fired for drinking on the job and dating the Simpsons’ goody-two-shoes neighbor Ned Flanders.
Some believed The Simpsons was already been planning an exit for Krabappel even before Wallace’s death. Before the season, the show released a statement saying that a favorite character, one voiced by an Emmy-winning actor, would be killed of the show. Marcia Wallace did win an Emmy in 1992, but Jean said Edna Krabappel wasn’t the character leaving the show.
“Marcia’s passing is unrelated and again, a terrible loss for all who had the pleasure of knowing her,” Jean said.
Jean did not say when Edna Krabappel would be exiting the show or whether there would be any episodes this year with voice work by Marcia Wallace.