A Tribute to Emily

Hello Everyone,

FOE 15As you may be aware, Jean Stapleton a.k.a. Emily Farnsworth passed away on 05/31/13 from natural causes.  She was 90 and fortunate to have lived such a long life!  I was very sad to learn of her passing and asked IWSOD about doing a tribute post for the blog.  Emily has always been one of my favorite SMK characters and I thought it would be fun to go back and capture my favorite Emily moments in her honor. 

Emily shows up in two SMK episodes, The Legend of Das Geisterschloss and The Three Faces of Emily.  If you’d like to go back and read iwsod’s original posts about them, here are links for you to click on:


Okay, let’s get started with TLODG.  In this episode we learn a few things about Lee and his start in the spy business.  Lee’s first assignment was with Emily.  She pulled him through some tight spots, apparently taught him patience and self-control along the way – huh?  Guess he forgot what she taught him….  Lee says she is one of the best field operatives MI-6 has got.  Wow!  That’s pretty high praise coming from him!  And she is his friend.  Double wow.  We see a little of the softer side of Lee.  After all, she is old enough to be his mother!

We first meet Emily sketching a picture – she is a posing as a British tourist.

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I know it’s a cliché, but I love the tongue!  Such an artisty thing to do, eh?

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She’s now off to find the Ghost Castle.  Wonderful 16th century architecture!

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We soon learn that Emily is no British tourist.  She is a spy for MI-6!  Boy does she look serious.  This next part always puts a smile on my face Smile

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Emily gets caught – oh no!

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But she’s a spy so she manages to escape his grasp – (love the shoes!)

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Only to be grabbed by the 2nd baddie….

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I love this one – it looks like she’s putting up her dukes saying, “Bring it on!  Who do you think you are picking on a sweet little ‘old lady like me?”

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1st baddie grabs her again, but she won’t go without kicking and screaming!

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ALL the way down the tunnel!  Bet his shins really hurt!  Did you see her shoes?

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Another of my favorite Emily faces….love the look she’s giving old Dr. Hanover here!

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Remember her sketch at the end?  See the “M” just above Lee’s finger?  And does anyone out there not think she is noticing some chemistry between a certain super handsome spy and his pretty housewife sidekick?

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Awww, love this pic!  Please forgive the fading bar at the bottom…didn’t realize that was there till now.

Ahhh, now on to TTFOE!  Such a fun episode!   We also get to learn a lot more about Emily and how she came to be in the spy biz.


We first see her at a reception for the British Ambassador.  Emily and Lee are on another case together.  Amanda learns that Mrs. Farnsworth is actually Lady Farnswort.!  Emily tells her to drop the Mrs. and the Lady and to call her Emily – they are after all, friends!

Love the next few pictures….Emily tells Lee he must learn how to improvise!  Hahaha!   Amanda could prove to be useful!  Hint, hint Lee!  He is a slow learner.





At least he doesn’t get annoyed with Emily!  She’s earned his respect.   You were right, Lee – Emily is one smart lady, like you told Amanda in TLODG.


Ahhh, next we learn that Emily isn’t really British after all!  She’s really an American from Santa Barbara.

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Actually, she’s really Tatiana Federovna Romarcheva!  And she’s now in the Soviet Embassy….err, Amanda’s dining room.

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That would be KGB Head of Operation Security…and discipline!!!

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Vhy???  You ask ME vhy??   ROFL!!  Rolling on the floor laughing

Before becoming a spy, Emily studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (located in London, England). Her first role was at the Liverpool Repertory Theatre. (Yes, another real place, now called Liverpool Playhouse).

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Back to Rrrrrrussia!  This line gets me going everytime!

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Here we have “Madame” and “Walter” tee hee…she wants to see ALL the proprietor’s red and gold paint samples!

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What a lovely photo….here in Amanda’s kitchen we learn that Emily got into the spy business just like Amanda – by accident.  In 1952 She was able to get a secret message from Cairo where she was living with her late husband James to Gibraltar and was hooked!  She’s been a spy for over 30 years!  No wonder Lee thinks she is an amazing woman!

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Emily the cleaning lady come to save Amanda!

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Falcon Ving is safe!!  Love this picture of these two.

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Bag Lady Emily.  No wonder Amanda is frightened!

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In the tag, we see that Emily already knows Amanda’s mom and the kids.  I guess they must have met when Amanda showed Emily around Washington the year before.  Guess it’s way easier to explain how there can be a sweet, old Enlish woman in her life versus a young, super handsome, super charming red-blooded American male in her life to her mother!  Is that a red and gold dress on Emily!  Good job Wardrobe people!

Thank you Jean Stapleton for giving us such a wonderful and fun character in Emily Farnsworth.  I wish we could have seen you again in S3 and S4, because I would have loved to have seen what the writers would have done with your character and how much they would have revealed to you!  We’ll have to have that discussion when we have walked that far.

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Jean Stapleton (January 19, 1923 – May 31, 2013)

17 responses to “A Tribute to Emily

  1. I watched the tribute to Jean Stapleton on the Emmys this evening. It was done by Rob Reiner who played her son-in-law on All In The Family. There was no scrolling of roles that she played and only a picture of her as Edith. It was just Rob Reiner speaking of his time spent with her on the show and him getting to know her and the type of person and actress that she was. It was a nice tribute and he got choked up near the end. You could see that he really loved her. Near the end they changed the picture to one of her with Carroll O’Conner who played Archie Bunker and Rob said how he loved them both. It was actually very sweet, but there was no mention of any of her other roles or characters. It wasn’t very long either.


    • Thanks for the info, Valerie. I caught part of one of the other tributes and saw how it was done. I didn’t get to see the one to JS and I’m disappointed I missed it.


  2. It was just announced that there was going to be a special tribute given at the Emmys this Sunday to five actors who passed away this past year. Jean Stapleton is one of the five that will be honored and I guess time will be allotted for a specific tribute to that person. Rob Reiner will be heading up the tribute to Jean Stapleton. It is a nice idea and I will have to check it out to see if they mention her work on SMK.


    • Ohhhh, please do let us know! I find it painful to watch those award shows, but would love to see the segment on JS. Maybe I’ll have to record it and just watch that part.


  3. Such a great actress – comedic timing, unforgettable characters. She will be missed.


  4. Melissa Robertson

    Thanks for the post. It was very nicely done 🙂


  5. I didn’t appreciate her work in All in the Family. I was just too young to understand. But I loved her You’ve got Mail, and I really appreciated her diversity in SMK.
    You’ve Got Mail is a great movie, filmed in the part of NYC that I knew well. The bagel store that Tom Hanks’ character walks his dog near was up the street from my elementary school (H&H Bagel). And I bet Meg Ryan’s characters bookstore was modeled after Eeyore’s a great children’s bookstore where you could go and hear authors read their books. I got many of my favorite novels autographed there.


    • Sorry to hear that, Morley-she was pretty good in that classic show! BJo, great post! Well, now she’s entertaining them in the great beyond!


  6. Jenbo and iwsod, I’ve never seen You’ve Got Mail – I’ll have to check it out! And thank you for the compliment on the post. I am so glad we have things like DVDs and such to keep our memories alive.

    Rachael – Yes, JS was brilliant as Edith Bunker. Yeah, she was very ditzy at times, but she could be as strong as Superman when she needed to be. It’s been a while since I’ve watched any episodes, but she really gave her all to Edith. I like British humor too, although I really love their crime dramas. Law & Order UK and Wallander are two of my favorites. And hopefully we will remember to speculate on what/how Lee and Amanda would have shared with Emily in their future!

    Hi Tricia – welcome to the blog and for sharing your thoughts! SMK was better for having her in it.

    Jeanine – Yes, JS will be missed! Now I’m curious to know if she has a memoir or something like that out there. I’ll have to go check.

    On a parallel note, here are some other recurring actors from SMK who have preceeded JS – Mel Stewart (Billy), Beverly Garland (Dotty), Sam Melville (Joe), and Raleigh Bond (TP Aquinas). I’m sure there are others but these are just the ones I know off the top of my head.


  7. Hiya Everyone!

    Soooo sad!!! I watched Three Faces of Emily last night in memory of Jean Stapleton.. a very funny lady.. Sounds like she lived a full long life- what a grand age to live to! I bet acting kept her young!

    My condolences go out to her family.

    Thanks Bjo for putting such a lovely post together: a great way to honour her memory.

    I’ve never seen All in the Family either- but I know of it because it was a part of tv history! I wasn’t sure what nationality Jean Stapleton was either – so thanks for clearing that up!

    Ahhh thanks for reminding me Jenbo, I might watch You’ve got mail tonight! I love that movie – they were filming that the year I lived in New York!!

    Tricia welcome to the forum! Lovely to hear from you.. I agree I’m glad she shared her talents with SMK too!!!



  8. I thought of these episodes as soon as I learned of Jean Stapleton’s death. I knew she was getting on in years, and I’m glad she shared her talents and wit with the SMK world.


  9. I remember watching All In The Family when I was a little kid, and when I saw in SMK, I was so excited. It was so cool to see her doing a role so completely different from what most Americans knew her as. As an adult, I’ve gone back to watch All In The Family, and she was pure brilliance. I agree with you BJo, I’m not sure the show would translate as well outside the US, but then again, we could say the same about British humor. But, I think a great deal of the population gets the humor and loves it (me being one of them), so maybe it could translate.
    She was a great, great actress. No one could ever say different. Loved her. It made my heart sad to see she had passed, but she did live a long and amazing life. At least we can still see her over and over again in SMK.
    I think we should discuss, when we reach that point, what she could have brought to the show had the brought her back for seasons 3 and 4. I have a feeling Lee and Amanda would have found her to be one they could be completely honest with regarding there relationship.
    Bless you, Emily Farnsworth!!!! 🙂


  10. Mrs. Jean Stapleton you will be missed. You were an amazing lady and a marvelous actor. Thanks for all you have done to brighten our lives.


  11. RIP Jean Stapleton, you brought much fun the the screen in SMK and You’ve Got Mail 🙂


    • Hi Jenbo – did the tv show All in the Family get shown in the UK? In it she plays Edith Bunker, perhaps her most well known role here in the US. The humor in it though I think might not be so funny outside the US. Mel Stewart was also in that show on occasion. I wonder if that’s why we never see Emily and Billy together on SMK?


      • Not to my knowledge it didn’t. Today is the first I’ve heard of the show. I confess I actually thought she was British until I realised she was in YGM


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