Beth Howland

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Beth Howland
Beth Howland.JPG
Beth Howland in Li'l Abner (1959)
Born Elizabeth Howland
(1941-05-28) May 28, 1941 (age 73)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Occupation stage and television actress
Spouse(s) Michael J. Pollard (1961-1969; divorced; one daughter)
Charles Kimbrough (presently)

Elizabeth "Beth" Howland (born May 28, 1941) is an American actress who has worked extensively on stage and television. Howland is best known for playing Vera on the sitcom Alice, inspired by the popular Martin Scorsese film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore.[1]

Howland also originated the role of Amy in the original Broadway cast of Stephen Sondheim's Company, in which she introduced the challenging, fast-paced patter song "Getting Married Today."

Personal life[edit]

Howland is an only child born to Roman Catholic parents. She attended a Catholic school as a young girl and became interested in acting and dancing with encouragement from one of the nuns. At the age of 16, she left home and followed a dancer friend to New York City.

From November 6, 1961, to 1969, she was married to character actor Michael J. Pollard, with whom she has a daughter named Holly. She is currently married to actor Charles Kimbrough, an actor of Broadway and Murphy Brown fame. Kimbrough and Howland appeared together in Company.

Career[edit]

After a time of struggling, 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.

She can be seen dancing and singing in the chorus of Li'l Abner (1959) as a Dogpatch wife, alongside future television star Valerie Harper. She is especially visible in the number "Put 'Em Back the Way They Was".

After appearing in Company, Howland left the New York stage to relocate to the West Coast, where she gave guest appearances on television series such as Love, American Style, Cannon, The Rookies, Bronk, Mary Tyler Moore (in one episode she played Mary's friend, Linda Foster alongside the late Bert Convy), Little House on the Prairie, Fantasy Island, and others. For her work on Alice, Howland received four Golden Globe nominations.

While she was on Alice, she made regular guest appearances on several series, including Eight Is Enough and The Love Boat. She also took on numerous telefilm roles, including You Can't Take It with You (as Essie), Working (singing, "Just a Housewife") and A Caribbean Mystery. She also performed in a little-known 1980 HBO Comedy Special called "The Wild Wacky Wonderful World of Winter" where she played a stripper who instead of stripping put clothes on in an effort to keep warm.

She remained on Alice throughout its nine seasons. After the show ended in 1985, Howland went into semi-retirement. She made occasional guest appearances (including Murder, She Wrote, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and The Tick) and starred in the telefilm Terrible Things My Mother Told Me.

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