Stapleton died of natural causes, her family announced Saturday.
She had been a veteran of stage, film and television when she was cast in the
"The benign, compassionate presence she developed made my egregious churl bearable," O'Connor wrote of Stapleton in his 1998 autobiography. He died in 2001.
Born in New York City on Jan. 19, 1923, Stapleton was the daughter of a billboard advertising salesman and an opera singer.
In 1949, she got a break when she was cast in the national touring company of "Harvey." Many characters later in summer stock, regional and off-Broadway plays, Stapleton starred as a wisecracking waitress in 1953 Broadway production of "In the Summer House."
Stapleton went on to a feature role as Sister in "Damn Yankees," singing the hit tune "You've Gotta Have Heart," and reprised the role in the 1958 film. She also appeared in both the stage and film versions of "The Bells Are Ringing" as Sue, the proprietor of Susanswerphone Service. And she originated the role of Mrs. Strakosh in "Funny Girl," which made a Broadway star of Barbra Streisand.
Stapleton is survived by her children, television producer Pamela Putch and film and television director John Putch.