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'All in the Family's' Sally Struthers Yearned to Be in Love before Meeting 'A Nice Young Doctor'

Olawale Ogunjimi
Apr 11, 2022
07:30 P.M.
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Sally Struthers was the blonde beauty whose eccentricities as the young lady in "All in the Family" thrilled fans. However, in reality, she wanted to witness true love, and this happened when she met "a nice young doctor."


Sally Struthers is popularly known for CBS's famous series, "All in the Family." She stole the hearts of many with her riveting performances as Archie's "Little Goil."

Gloria Bunker Strivic (Struthers) was raised by conservative parents, Archie and Edith, and married a liberal husband, Mike.

Sally Struthers role playing as Gloria Bunker from "ALL IN THE FAMILY, on October 26, 1971. | Source: Getty Images


Although the petite blonde beauty enjoyed an adorable marriage on-screen, she yearned for true love in reality. There were rumors that she was in a blissful relationship, but they were false.

However, in 1975 gossip of a false engagement between the actress and a director, Art Fisher, topped the headlines. Sadly, this lie taunted Struthers, who was alone and very unhappy.

However, despite the pressure, the actress maintained her belief that it is no good to live in a house with a man before marriage. She had experienced it before and recalled that it was an unpalatable incident.

Promotional still shows the cast from the American television show 'All in the Family,' Los Angeles, California, early 1970s. | Source: Getty Images


At the time, she could not talk to her family; the only person Struthers confided in was her married sister, Susan. The actress told Susan that she wanted a life like hers, including a family and healthy marriage. Struthers had said:

"All I want is a life like yours, to be in love and have it all sewn up."

Even though Struthers yearned for a family, she was surrounded by love. The actress had a close bond with a co-star, Caroll O'Connor, and his wife, Nancy. Caroll acted like a father figure on the show and away from the camera Struthers had lost her real dad in 1968. 



Sally Struthers and Husband William Rader during 1979 Special Olympics at SUNY Brockport Campus in Brockport, New York, United States. | Source: Getty Images

Thanks to the close relationship the colleagues shared, Caroll's wife introduced the actress to "a nice young doctor" named William Rader, who later became her husband.


Rader appeared smitten by the "All in the Family" star, and in no time, he phoned her assistant, requesting a date. The assistant told him Struthers was in a relationship. Still, this did not crush Rader's hopes, as he insisted she put him on her date list. The doctor added:

"And if she doesn't have a list, start one."

Sally Struthers attend the "Masada" Los Angeles Screening on March 18, 1981. | Source: Getty Images


Struthers found his persistence impressive, and she called back to arrange a date. The friends soon became lovers as the actress fell in love after their first outing.

While recalling the moment, she confessed that her love drove her to suggest marriage first. This was a rather bold step because her lover had three kids from a previous relationship.

Fortunately, Rader was also ready to settle down, and by 1977, the couple became husband and wife— the sweet love life Struthers had always dreamed of setting sail.


American actress Sally Struthers with her husband, psychiatrist William C Rader and their daughter Samantha, December 1980. | Source: Getty Images


Indeed, Struthers's marriage to Rader was an enviable romance embellished with genuine support from the doctor and a playful atmosphere, including jokes from the actress. Even though he was not in the entertainment field, Rader was present to accompany his wife to award shows.

In 1977, when they attended the Emmy Awards, where all the cast of "All in the Family" won their nominations except her, Struthers whispered to her husband that they should leave the show before it ended.

Sally Struthers and Husband William Rader during Iris Awards Banquet at Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, California, United States on March 4, 1978. | Source: Getty Images


Rader complied and followed her out to search for their car. The following year, the actress decided not to attend the show, her husband agreed, and they stayed home, watching the Awards ceremony in their pajamas while munching on popcorn.

Unlike the previous year, Struthers won her category. Despite not being present to receive it, the actress joked about the situation, and they had a good laugh. She said:

"I guess it's too late to go down there, huh?"

Sally Struthers and Husband William Rader during Iris Awards Banquet at Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images


Apart from the ride-or-die attitude and hearty jokes, the couple was bonded by other qualities, including Struthers's childish spontaneity. While commenting on it, Rader mentioned that:

"Sally can literally fall on the floor laughing. What I'm trying to learn from her is that innocence, that freedom."

While Rader found his wife's childish features worthy of learning, he's also managed to influence her ways of thinking, and Struthers's priorities became family and children first.


Sally Struthers at Harmony Gold Theater on November 7, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images


Struthers had the best relationship with her stepkids. They opened up to her and even invited their friends to the couple's 14-room Brentwood home, formerly owned by Rita Hayworth.

Rader was convinced his wife loved the kids, and it made him happy. The doctor even vouched that Struthers would be a great parent to them in his absence. According to him:

"She loves them enough to be firm with them and to listen to them. If something were to happen to me, Sally's relationship to them would be as close or even closer."

Sally Struthers on November 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images


When she became pregnant for their first and only child, Struthers was anxious to reveal the news to her stepchildren. This was because she did not know how they would feel. She witnessed her father's marriage to another woman as a child and his adoption of a child.

Struthers hid the pregnancy for a long time until it was almost impossible to maintain secrecy. In the end, she spilled the beans, and ultimately, they became endeared to the youngest family member. In her words:

"I don't think they were overjoyed, but they only needed proof that the new baby wouldn't affect their relationship with Bill. Now they are crazy about Samantha."


Sally Struthers at the premiere of "Against the Ropes" at the Chinese Theater on February 11, 2004. | Source: Getty Images

Although Struthers was overwhelmed with the birth of her child, initially, the actress never wanted a baby. However, when she understood that a child could seal the bond with her husband, she did not mind.


Once the actress became a mother, she had a helpmate but still felt intimidated by motherhood, following its responsibilities.


Sally Struthers attends the premiere of Netflix's "Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life" at the Regency Bruin Theatre on November 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images


Despite the love around the home, the couple had the least quiet marriage in the neighborhood. Although they shared adorable moments, the couple often argued about some minor issues. About the volatility of their marriage, the actress said:

"If you're our neighbor on a hot night when the windows are open, you might hear us arguing about whether to have steamed broccoli or go out to eat."

Sally Struthers at the Actor's Fund S.T.A.G.E. Too Tribute on November 12, 2005 | Source: Getty Images


Struthers joked that their different personalities made the marriage lively and somehow difficult for them to coexist. The actress revealed that her husband was destined to lecture while she was born to be on top.

Rader agreed to her assertions, adding that there was "never a dull moment." Struthers also explained that despite the complexity of their marriage, she would not have wished for anything better. According to her:

"What if a Mack truck hit Bill? I think I'd go on, but I won't get a new daddy for Samantha. I would know I'd already had my husband."



Sally Struthers at the 5th annual "Lupus LA Gala, An Evening Of Love Life And Laughter" on October 8, 2004 | Photo: Getty Images

Rader and Struthers had the best Hollywood marriage; they were supportive of each other, possessed a great sense of humor, and had a loving family. Unfortunately, their union did not last up to a decade. They divorced in 1983, six years after their wedding ceremony.


The split was handled privately, and they refrained from speaking about the reasons behind the failed marriage. Following the end of the union, Struthers focused on motherhood and acting.

She has appeared in tons of on-screen productions and works as a prime spokesperson for the Christain Children's Fund on TV, where she sources funds to assist the needy in under-developed countries.

Actress Sally Struthers at the premiere of "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" at Regency Bruin Theatre on November 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images


On the other hand, Rader no longer works as a doctor. He was caught selling experimental treatments, and his license was revoked.

Not much is known about the couple's relationship. But it appears that they were able to raise a successful daughter who carved a career in clinical psychology. 

To this date, Struthers never remarried. Instead, she is living a fulfilled life as she continues to give maximum entertainment to her fans while reaching out to the needy across borders.