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‘Alice’ Actress Beth Howland Dead at 74

Sitcom Star Died on December 31, 2015 From Lung Cancer

Beth Howland, who is remembered for her nine-season stint as jittery waitress Vera Louise Gorman on CBS sitcom “Alice” has died. She was 74 and she passed away on Dec. 31, 2015, but the news of her passing was just announced by her husband Charles Kimbrough. The cause of her death was lung cancer.

Born Elizabeth Howland on May 28, 1941 in Boston, Howland made her Broadway debut in 1959 as Lady Beth in the Carol Burnett musical “Once Upon a Mattress.” She went on to have roles in the musicals “Bye Bye Birdie,” “High Spirits,” “Drat! The Cat!,” and “Darling of the Day;” and her early TV roles included guest spots on “Love, American Style,” “Cannon,” The Rookies,” Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Little House on the Prairie” and “Fantasy Island.” She received four Golden Globe nominations for her role on “Alice.”

Following “Alice,” Howland acted sporadically with guest roles on series like “Murder, She Wrote” and “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.” In addition to her husband, who played the anchorman Jim Dial on sitcom “Murphy Brown,” she is survived by a daughter from her first marriage to actor Michael J. Pollard, Holly Howland.

Written by Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Marc Berman has been writing professionally since 1999 and is the author of weekly column “Mr. Television” for Campaign US (www.campaignlive.com). Most recently, Berman was the creator and Editor-in-Chief of website and newsletter TV Media Insights for Cross MediaWorks. From 1999-2011, he was the Senior Editor for Mediaweek and has also written for The New York Daily News, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Emmy Magazine, among others. Berman has also appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra,” “Access Hollywood,” “Inside Edition,” “The CBS Evening News,” E!, CNN, CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC.

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  1. The first sitcom I was ever in the audience for in Los Angeles was “Alice.” It was 1981 and there was a major heat wave. The camera equipment was not functioning properly and they could only shoot one scene. But it was still fun to watch, and I was glad I got to see Beth Howland. Was a big fan of “Alice,” but it was not the same after Polly Holliday as FLo left.

  2. I loved the early seasons of Alice. I had no idea that Beth Howland was married to Charles Kimbrough.