Sally Struthers’ Most Memorable Roles

Sally Struthers
Everett Collection/Getty Images

Born on July 28, 1947, actress Sally Struthers began her career in 1970. She was discovered by Norman Lear after appearing as a dancer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. He was looking for an actress to play Gloria Stivic in the sitcom All in the Family. Struthers admitted that she had been let go by The Tim Conway Comedy Hour and that gave her time to attend a reading for All in the Family that eventually led to the role that would change her life and is perhaps still her most well-known character.

Gloria Stivic in ‘All in the Family’

ALL IN THE FAMILY, 1971-83, Rob Reiner, Sally Struthers

Everett Collection

Struthers played Gloria, the daughter of Archie and Edith Bunker and the wife of Michael Stivic. She was an overprotected only child and was often butting heads with her dad because she would side with her husband’s more liberal beliefs. Throughout the series, they go through many changes and challenges including the birth of their son, Joey, Gloria’s affair with Bud Kreeger, and being arrested for participating in a nude protest. Eventually, Michael leaves Gloria and Joey to join a commune. In the short-lived spin-off Gloria, she is divorced from him and working at a veterinarian’s office.

Marsha McMurray Shrimpton in ‘9 to 5’

9 TO 5, clockwise from left: Edward Winter, Rachel Dennison, Sally Struthers, 1982-88

20th Century Fox Film Corp/Everett Collection

Struthers joined the television version of 9 to 5 during seasons four and five. She played Marsha, a single mother joining the group. Dolly Parton‘s younger sister, Rachel Dennison, took over Parton’s role from the film for the show. The show was very similar to the movie, following a group of women who were always trying to fight back against their horrible boss.

Charlene Sinclair in ‘Dinosaurs’

DINOSAURS, Charlene Sinclair, 1991-94

Jim Henson Productions/Everett Collection

Throughout the years, Struthers began lending her unique voice to different projects including The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show, TaleSpin, and Dinosaurs. In Dinosaurs, she voiced the character Charlene, the teenage daughter of Earl and Fran Sinclair. At first, she is a stereotypical teen, only caring about popularity, boys, and shopping. During the show’s run, she grows up and becomes more involved in her family’s life and causes that relate to the dinosaurs.

Babette Dell in ‘Gilmore Girls’

GILMORE GIRLS: A YEAR IN THE LIFE, l-r: Ted Rooney, Sally Struthers in 'Spring' (Season 1, Episode 2, aired November 25, 2016)

Saeed Adyani/Netflix/Everett Collection

One of her best performances came in the 2000s, as Babette Dell, the neighbor of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. While she is a bit nosy and loves to gossip, she genuinely cares about the Gilmore girls and the other townsfolk. She is married to tall, quiet Morey and loves her cats. The relationship between Morey and Babette is adorable and she is one of the characters that makes the show so endearing and funny, amid the drama from Lorelai and Rory. She came back to reprise her role in the 2016 continuation mini-series Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

Miss Hannigan in the stage play ‘Annie’

We can’t forget that Struthers is not just an accomplished TV and movie actress but has appeared in several stage plays too. She played Miss Hannigan in Annie in the ’90s and reprised the role more recently as well. I saw the play as a kid and met Struthers and she told me I looked just like Alice in Wonderland with my long, blonde hair and blue headband. Such a great memory and proves that she is just as nice as she appears! She’s also appeared in Grease, Hello, Dolly!, and Young Frankenstein to name a few.

What is your favorite Sally Struthers’ role? Let us know and wish her a Happy Birthday in the comments. Happy birthday, Sally!

Where Are They Now - The Seventies
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June 2022

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