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Delta Zeta Sorority's 2009 Woman of the Year: Marcia Wallace, Delta Nu, Parsons College (Iowa)
Marcia Wallace is truly an actor for all generations. In 1972, she played the quick-witted receptionist on the Emmy-nominated "The Bob Newhart Show," which received the TV Land Icon Award in 2007. In the 1980s, she made guest appearances on TV shows such as "Taxi," "Magnum P.I.," "Alf, "Murder, She Wrote" and later, as Murphy Brown's efficient secretary in the television series of that same name, a role for which she received an Emmy nomination. A new generation of television viewers came to know her in the 1990s as the voice of Edna Krabappel on the animated series "The Simpsons", for which she won an Emmy for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992. She also appeared as Maggie the housekeeper on "That's My Bush," an irreverent sitcom, and had recurring roles on "Seventh Heaven," "Full House," and "Charles in Charge."
Back on the boards this summer, she played the Mother Superior in "Nunsense 2" and Faye in "The Sugar Bean Sisters" before originating the role of Leona in the new play "Rest, In Pieces." She also made her soap opera debut for several weeks as bumbling kidnapper Annie Wilkes on "The Young and the Restless." Last month she was elected to the national board of the Screen Actors Guild.
Behind the colorful characters she has created on the TV screen, Marcia is also a mother, an advocate for breast cancer awareness, and has written her autobiography, "Don't Look Back, We're Not Going That Way!," which is the perfect motto for her life journey to fame, self-discovery, love and heartbreak.
In addition to her television work, her roles on stage include "An Almost Perfect Person" in Los Angeles, which she also produced, a tour of "The Vagina Monologues" and the female "The Odd Couple" with Jo Anne Worley. Other plays include productions of "Same Time Next Year," "Twigs," "It Had To Be You," "Supporting Cast," "Prisoner of Second Avenue," "Plaza Suite," "Gypsy," "Promises, Promises," "Born Yesterday," "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown," "Steel Magnolias" and "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers" - in which she played all three roles at various times. She has studied with Uta Hagen, Tony Award-winning actress and coach, and David Craig.
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1985, Marcia speaks around the country to promote early detection and low cost mammography. In 2007, she won the Gilda Radner Courage Award from Roswell Park Cancer Institute for helping educate Americans about the importance of early cancer detection and inspiring others through her 22 years as a breast cancer survivor. She has worked closely with the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society.
Marcia received the Honorary Doctorate of Public Service Award from Luzerne Community College in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania in 2008. She has also been recognized with the Albina Taddeo Humanitarian Award from the Sass Foundation for Medical Research and with the Spirit of Life Woman of the Year Award from the City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte, California. Marcia was also honored with the Distinguished Parsons Alumnae and Fairfield Friend Award and recently was one of the first nine honorees of the Parsons College Wall of Honor. In 2007 she was one of the first ten alumnae honored by her high school in Creston, Iowa for the Hall of Fame.
As a collegian, Marcia was president of the Delta Nu Chapter at Parsons College and says of that experience, "I loved college and my sorority experience, and I value and treasure the friends that I made there. My life is better for it—no question about it." Today she continues to attend the Delta Nu Chapter reunions held in Fairfield, Iowa.
Marcia was married to Dennis Hawley, who lost his own battle to cancer six years after they were married. She has one son, Mikey, who is starting his senior year in the theater program at UCLA. (When he told his mother he wanted to be an actor, she said, "Fine, act like you like me.")