By Noreen O’Donnell
(Reuters) – Actress Marcia Wallace, the voice of Edna Krabappel on the Fox show “The Simpsons” and earlier Carol Kester, the receptionist on the 1970s sitcom “The Bob Newhart Show,” has died at 70.
“I was tremendously saddened to learn this morning of the passing of the brilliant and gracious Marcia Wallace,” said executive producer, Al Jean. “She was beloved by all at The Simpsons and we intend to retire her irreplaceable character.”
Wallace, who had survived breast cancer, died at home, according to a Fox publicist, Antonia Coffman.
A fellow cast member and voice of Lisa Simpson, Yeardley Smith, wrote a farewell to Wallace on Twitter Saturday morning.
“Cheers to the hilarious, kind, fab Marcia Wallace, who has taken her leave of us. Heaven is now a much funnier place b/c of you, Marcia,” Smith tweeted.
Wallace won an Emmy for outstanding voice actress in 1992. Her long-running “Simpsons” character Edna Krabappel was Bart Simpson’s jaded, crabby fourth-grade teacher.
Earlier, Wallace played the chatty receptionist on “The Bob Newhart Show.” She also appeared on “The Merv Griffin Show” and game shows such as “Hollywood Squares” and “The $25,000 Pyramid.”
Executive producer Jean had previously hinted about killing off one of the show’s characters.
“Earlier we had discussed a potential storyline in which a character passed away,” Jean said in a statement. “This was not Marcia’s Edna Krabappel. Marcia’s passing is unrelated and again, a terrible loss for all who had the pleasure of knowing her.”
Wallace published an autobiography “Don’t Look Back, We’re Not Going that Way,” in 2004. Her husband, hotelier Dennis Hawley, died in 1992. She had a son, Michael Hawley.