The Casting Decisions That Finally Got All In The Family Off The Ground

TV

In a retrospective interview Lear gave Entertainment Weekly in 2021, he attributed the show’s breakthrough to a simple casting change. “The gods wanted me to come across Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers,” Lear said, referencing the actors who would ultimately come to embody Archie and Edith’s feminist, college-age daughter Gloria and her countercultural husband, Michael “Meathead” Stivic. According to Lear, “The first pilot we made was terrific, and it was word-for-word the same as the second and third pilot. I had Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton, but I had different young people.”

The influential filmmaker said it was a good thing neither “Justice For All” nor “Those Were The Days” worked out, as “All in the Family” connected best with the final iteration of its cast. “It was the third time we were asked to make it that I cast Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers, and bless the fact that nobody picked up the show before we found them. Because the chemistry of those four people in every direction was magic,” he explained to EW. After nine seasons of “All in the Family,” Reiner would go on to direct movies like “Stand By Me,” “When Harry Met Sally…” and “The Princess Bride.” Struthers, meanwhile, would take on several more iconic TV roles in shows like “9 to 5,” “Gilmore Girls,” and “Dinosaurs.”

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