It\u2019s difficult to believe that an actor or actress could be cast in one of the most iconic television shows of the 1970s, yet find it difficult to find work in the years following their departure from it. But that\u2019s exactly what happened with Sally Struthers, who had portrayed Gloria Stivic \u2014 Archie and Edith Bunker\u2019s little girl and Mike \u201cMeathead\u201d Stivics\u2019 wife \u2014 on All in the Family. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Sally had carved out an impressive name for herself by giving strong performances in relatively small roles on the big screen, acting opposite Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces (1970) and Steve McQueen in The Getaway (1972). Yet on television she was providing the voice for Pebbles Flintstone on the Saturday morning cartoon The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show (1971 to 1972), after having previously worked as a performer in 1970 on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Tim Conway Comedy Hour. It was on those that she came to the attention of Norman Lear when he was casting All in the Family. RELATED: 'All in the Family' Star Carroll O'Connor Feared Too Many People Identified with Archie Bunker ALL IN THE FAMILY, 1971-83, Sally Struthers, Rob Reiner, Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton In an interview with Newsday, she recounted how she was hired: \u201cI had just gotten let go from The Tim Conway Comedy Hour because the suits in New York said that I made the show look cheap,\u201d Sally explained. \u201cAnd the producer said, \u2018That\u2019s the whole point, we\u2019re trying to make it look like the Conway show doesn\u2019t have a budget, has no money, so that\u2019s why there\u2019s only one Tim Conway dancer instead of a line of them like the June Taylor Dancers on The Jackie Gleason Show. And there\u2019s only one musician and they can\u2019t afford an instrument for him, so he\u2019s standing at a music stand humming the opening theme song.\u2019 That\u2019s funny! And the Suit said, \u2018No, it makes the show look cheap.\u2019 So they let me, the Tim Conway dancer, go. And if they hadn\u2019t done that, I wouldn\u2019t have been free to read for All in the Family.\u201d What happened to Sally Struthers? Sally Struthers, 1972, ph: Ed Pfizenmaier\/TV Guide\/Courtesy Everett Collection From 1971 to 1979, All in the Family broke many of the conventions that had restrained the television industry from almost the beginning and dealt with a variety of issues that had previously been considered taboo \u2014 not the least of which was the fact that a bigot, in the form of Carroll O\u2019Connor\u2019s Archie Bunker, was at the center of the show. For his part, Norman Lear instinctively knew the television audience was ready to be challenged and he was right. ALL IN THE FAMILY, 1971-83, Jean Stapleton, Sally Struthers All of the characters, from Archie to Jean Stapleton\u2019s Edith and, of course, Mike (Rob Reiner) and Gloria, were on one hell of a journey. In some ways, though, it was Gloria who went through the greatest evolution. When we met her, she was a curly-haired young woman taking baby steps into the world of women\u2019s lib, and by the time she and Mike left the show just prior to the last season (and All in the Family\u2019s transformation into Archie Bunker\u2019s Place), she was an independent woman standing up for herself and demanding equality. Why did Sally Struthers leave 'All in the Family?' ALL IN THE FAMILY, Carroll O'Connor, Sally Struthers, 1971-79 Overall, it was an amazing example of growth, earning Sally a pair of Emmy Awards for her portrayal of Gloria in 1972 and 1979. During the run of the show \u2014 which she and Rob Reiner left to pursue new projects \u2014 she appeared in a number of successful TV movies, including The Great Houdini (1976), Intimate Stranger (1977) and My Husband is Missing (1978). But things began slowing down after that. She reprised the role of Gloria in a two-part episode of Archie Bunker\u2019s Place with Mike apparently having left her for one of his students. From there she starred in the spin-off series Gloria opposite Burgess Meredith, which only ran from 1982 to 1983. She kept acting, guest-starring, providing her voice to animated characters, and having a starring role in the latter part of the TV version of 9 to 5 (1986 to 1988). But she recognized that things were changing and work \u2014 substantial work \u2014 was getting harder to come by. THE ODD COUPLE, from left: Rita Moreno, Sally Struthers, Ahmanson Theater, 1985 It\u2019s the reason that she jumped at the opportunity to star as Florence Unger in Neil Simon\u2019s distaff version of his most popular work, The Odd Couple. She did so on Broadway, with Rita Moreno (later Brenda Vaccarro) as Olive Madison. When she was asked by a television reporter why she had been attracted to the part, her answer was simple and direct: \u201cIt was work.\u201d THE ODD COUPLE, from left: Sally Struthers, Brenda Vaccaro, 1985-1986 She let this sink in for a moment before continuing, \u201cI wanted to do The Odd Couple because it was the first work that had been offered to me in a year and a half. And I needed and wanted to work so desperately as an artist and as a homeowner with financial responsibilities, that when it was offered to me, I jumped at the chance, even though it was an offer that came with a lot of setbacks for me emotionally. Going on the road was not something I was looking forward to doing; being separated from my family and my friends and my pets and living in New York. If the play was a hit, it wasn\u2019t something that I was really looking forward to, but it was employment and I had to do it.\u201d How old is Sally Struthers now? GILMORE GIRLS: A YEAR IN THE LIFE, seated l-r: Liz Torres, Sally Struthers, standing second from right: Alexis Bledel, standing right: Lauren Graham in 'Summer', (Season 1, Episode 3, aired November 25, 2016). ph: Saeed Adyani\/\u00a9Netflix\/courtesy Everett Collection The natural follow-up question was how it could be that she couldn\u2019t find work. After all, she had been on All in the Family! \u201cI don\u2019t know,\u201d Sally, who is now 73, replied matter of factly. \u201cIt\u2019s the strangest phenomenon to be at the top of the mountain and the next day to be at the bottom, but somehow you didn\u2019t feel the fall.\u201d GLORIA, Lou Richards, Sally Struthers, Christian Jacobs, Burgess Meredith, Jo de Winter, 1982-83, \u00a9 CBS \/ Courtesy: Everett Collection In what seems to have been a temporary slump, Sally would go on to appear in 52 episodes of Gilmore Girls as Babette Dell and on different shows. Where she really seems to have found a home has been on the stage, appearing in about 30 shows over the past 20 years, most recently in Mame, Irving Berlin\u2019s White Christmas the Musical, and the stage adaptation of Grumpy Old Men. But where Sally seems to have found true happiness is in her efforts for ChildFun (previously the Christian Children\u2019s Fund), which advocates on behalf of impoverished children in developing countries. One has to imagine that\u2019s got to be more fun than listening to Archie Bunker bellow \u2026 right?