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Creston’s Emmy-winning actress Marcia Wallace dies

Published: Monday, Oct. 28, 2013 11:53 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Oct. 28, 2013 11:54 a.m. CDT

Marcia Wallace, an Emmy-award winning actress and Creston native, was a fighter.

On the big screen, she kept her coworkers on their toes as the slightly sarcastic and witty secretary Carol Kester on “The Bob Newhart Show.”

Wallace also spent decades as the voice of teacher Ms. Edna Krabappel on the popular Fox animated series “The Simpsons.” Wallace’s character was in constant, playful battles with troublemaker Bart Simpson.

But Wallace’s toughest and longest fight was against breast cancer — a battle she eventually lost Friday around 9 p.m. She was 70 years old.

“She was always willing to visit and talk with everyone,” said life-long friend Linda Hartsock of Creston. “Really a strong, gal, a faithful friend and brought love and laughter to all of our lives.”

Born Nov. 1, 1942, in Creston, Wallace was a 1960 Creston High School graduate before she moved out to Hollywood. She eventually found success and established her career as an actress and comedian.

In addition to “The Bob Newhart Show,” she appeared more than 75 times on “The Merv Griffin Show” and earned an Emmy nomination on “Murphy Brown” in 1994.

Wallace eventually won an Emmy for her work as Ms. Krabappel on “The Simpsons.” Her iconic laugh — a single and sharp “Ha!” — became the character’s trademark on the show that started in 1990.

Hartsock said Wallace spent a lot of her time as a spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society.

After losing her husband, Dennis Hawley in 1992, she published an autobiography, “Don’t Look Back, We’re Not Going That Way.”

The subtitle — “How I Overcame a Rocky Childhood, a Nervous Breakdown, Breast Cancer, Widowhood, Fat, Fire & Menopausal Motherhood and Still Managed to Count My Lucky Chickens” — gives a thorough look of Wallace’s past that helped shape her career and ability to use comedy to get through life’s tough situations.

“She came back (to Creston) for the centennial, helped with Relay for Life and high school graduations,” Hartsock said.

Wallace was a frequent visitor on popular game shows, including “Hollywood Squares,” “The $25,000 Pyramid,” “To Tell the Truth” and “Match Game.” Her latest and upcoming film, “Muffin Top,” includes an appearance from her son, Michael Hawley.

In 2005, she was part of the first CHS Hall of Fame inductees. During her acceptance speech, Wallace included her comedic flare saying, “Someone downtown today said they’d heard I was going to be ‘ignited’ into the Hall of Fame. So, if you want to light me on fire, now’s the time!”

“She was extremely proud any time someone from her home town recognized her,” Hartsock said. “That always meant a lot for her.”

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