ENTERTAINMENT

‘All In The Family’ Star Jean Stapleton's Son John Recalls Growing Up With A Mom That Battled Dementia: “We Saw Her Struggle”

Date October 16, 2019 10:24

Living with a loved one battling dementia can be challenging. However, it gets harder when that person is one of the most adored actresses of all time. This was the plight of Jean Stapleton's son, John Putch.

‘All In The Family’ Star Jean Stapleton's Son John Recalls Growing Up With A Mom That Battled Dementia: “We Saw Her Struggle”Getty Images / Ideal Image

Before her demise at the age of 90 in 2013, Jean was well known for her role as Edith Bunker in the television sitcom 'All in the Family'. She was usually described as an accomplished stage and screen actress who earned several awards.

Unfortunately, away from the spotlight, Stapleton was battling dementia. She struggled with the disease for about a decade, and most people didn't know about it, except her family.

Growing up with Jean as a mom

John gave fans a glimpse into what his childhood was like while growing up in Pennsylvania with his famous parents, Bill Butch and Jean Stapleton, in his movie 'The Father and the Bear.'

The film, written and directed by him, was dedicated to his parents and tells the story of a retired actor who has been diagnosed with dementia but wants to give performance one more chance.

While speaking to Reading Eagle, he explained that the movie was not a dementia film, but that he wanted to draw components from his mom's struggle to help people.

"People will get a hopeful movie. It's not the entire story, and I hope that people take away that we really can all help each other. There's a good message in there. It's not depressing."

When speaking how Jean handled her condition, Putch revealed that she struggled. However, she did it with grace and fortitude.

"We saw her struggle, and she stopped working. A lot of people go through it with their parents or grandparents, so I had a theater story, and I had this, and they seemed to go together."

‘All In The Family’ Star Jean Stapleton's Son John Recalls Growing Up With A Mom That Battled Dementia: “We Saw Her Struggle”Getty Images / Ideal Image

While the movie was to depict his childhood to the world, the main inspiration to write and direct, however, came when his mother succumbed to the battle with dementia.

The Alzheimer's Association aired the film to benefit the Walk to End Alzheimer's in Abilene.

Losing a parent as influential as Jean Stapleton to dementia while the world didn't know about it can be challenging. But it is wonderful that John was able to share his experience as a way to help others. Jean would no doubt be proud of him!