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
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died December 31, 2015(2015-12-31) (aged 74)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Cause of death Lung Cancer
Occupation stage and television actress
Years active 1959–2002
Spouse(s)
Children 1

Elizabeth "Beth" Howland (May 28, 1941 – December 31, 2015) was an American actress. She worked on stage and television and was best known for playing Vera Gorman in the sitcom Alice, inspired by the 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 patter song "Getting Married Today."

Early life[edit]

Howland was born on May 28, 1941, in Boston, Massachusetts.[2] At the age of 16, she left home and followed a dancer friend to New York City.[2]

After a time of struggling, Howland made her Broadway debut in 1959 as Lady Beth in the Carol Burnett musical Once Upon a Mattress, which transferred from off-Broadway. She went on to have roles in the musicals Bye Bye Birdie, High Spirits, Drat! The Cat!, and Darling of the Day.[3]

Career[edit]

Howland can be seen dancing and singing in the chorus of Li'l Abner (1959) as Clem's wife, alongside future television star Valerie Harper.[2] After appearing in Company, she left New York to relocate to California,[4] where she made guest appearances on television series such as Love, American Style, Cannon, Mary Tyler Moore, Little House on the Prairie, Fantasy Island, Eight Is Enough and The Love Boat.[5][6] For her work on Alice, Howland received four Golden Globe nominations. She later took on numerous telefilm roles, including You Can't Take It with You (as Essie) and Agatha Christie's: A Caribbean Mystery.[7]

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)[8] and starred in the ABC Afterschool Special titled "Terrible Things My Mother Told Me".[9][10]

Personal life[edit]

From 1961–69, Howland was married to character actor Michael J. Pollard, with whom she had a daughter.[11] She was married to actor Charles Kimbrough, an actor of Broadway and Murphy Brown fame, until her death. Kimbrough and Howland had appeared together in Company.[citation needed]

Death[edit]

Howland died of lung cancer on December 31, 2015, at the age of 74. Per her request, her death was not reported to the media and was not made public until May 24, 2016, four days before what would have been her 75th birthday.[2]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1959 Li'l Abner Clem's wife
1974 Thunderbolt and Lightfoot Vault Manager's Wife

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1972 The Mary Tyler Moore Show Linda Foster Episode: "Have I Found a Guy for You" (S 3:Ep 10)
1973 The Ted Bessell Show Margaret Made-for-TV-Movie directed by Bill Persky.[14]
Love, American Style Rita Episode: "Love and Carmen Lopez/Love and the Cover/Love and the Cryin' Cowboy" (S 5:Ep 13)
1975 Cannon Secretary Episode: "Nightmare" (S 5:Ep 1)
The Rookies Mrs. Ross Episode: "Reading, Writing and Angel Dust" (S 4:Ep 2)
Bronk June Kramer Episode: "Echo of Danger" (S 1:Ep 4)
The Mary Tyler Moore Show Joan Episode: "Mary Richards Falls in Love" (S 6:Ep 11)
1976 Little House on the Prairie Clerk Episode: "The Pride of Walnut Grove" (S 2:Ep 14)
1976–85 Alice Vera Louise Gorman Contract role (202 episodes)
1977 Eight Is Enough Mavis Episode: "Is There a Doctor in the House?" (S 2:Ep 1)
1979 The Love Boat Lee Noble Episode: "Third Wheel/Grandmother's Day/Second String Mom" (S 2:Ep 27)
You Can't Take It with You Essie Carmichael Made-for-TV-Movie directed by Paul Bogart.[15]
1980 The Wild Wacky Wonderful World of Winter Stripper Made-for-TV-Movie
1981 The Love Boat Eloise Farnsworth Episodes:
  • "Farnsworth's Fling/Three in a Bed/I Remember Helen/Merrill, Melanie & Melanesia/Gopher Farnsworth Smith: Part 1" (S 5:Ep 8)
  • "Farnsworth's Fling/Three in a Bed/I Remember Helen/Merrill, Melanie & Melanesia/Gopher Farnsworth Smith: Part 2" (S 5:Ep 9)
1982 American Playhouse Housewife Episode: "Working" (S 1:Ep 14)
1983 The Love Boat Jeannie Davis Episodes:
  • "Hits and Missus/Return of Annabelle/Just Plain Folks Medicine/Caught in the Act/The Real Thing/Do Not Disturb/Lulu & Kenny (Country Music Jamboree): Part 1" (S 6:Ep 27)
  • "Hits and Missus/Return of Annabelle/Just Plain Folks Medicine/Caught in the Act/The Real Thing/Do Not Disturb/Lulu & Kenny (Country Music Jamboree): Part 2" (S 6:Ep 28)
Captain Bernice Tobin Episode: "Youth Takes a Holiday/Don't Leave Home Without It/Prisoner of Love" (S 7:Ep 4)
Agatha Christie's: A Caribbean Mystery Evelyn Hillingdon Made-for-TV-Movie directed by Robert Michael Lewis.[16]
1985 Comedy Factory Kate Weston Episode: "It Takes Two" (S 1:Ep 6)
1988 ABC Afterschool Special Eleanor Flemming Episode: "Terrible Things My Mother Told Me" (S 16:Ep 5)[9]
You Can't Take It with You Anita Briggs Episode: "For Whom the Phone Rings" (S 1:Ep 14)
1993 Murder, She Wrote Sandy Oates Episode: "Lone Witness" (S 9:Ep 19)
1997 Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Mrs. Ericson Episode: "Cat Showdown" (S 1:Ep 19)
2000 Chicken Soup for the Soul Diane Episode: "Thinking of You/Mama's Soup Pot/The Letter" (S 1:Ep 17)
Batman Beyond Singer Episode: "Out of the Past" (S 3:Ep 5)
2002 The Tick Bea Episode: "Arthur, Interrupted" (S 1:Ep 8)
As Told by Ginger Dr. Leventhal Episode: "And She Was Gone"( S 2:Ep 23)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 25, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d Grimes, William (May 24, 2016). "Beth Howland, accident prone waitress from the sitcom Alice dies at 74". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved May 25, 2016. 
  3. ^ Associated Press Staff (May 25, 2016). "Beth Howland, Vera on TV sitcom ‘Alice’, dies at 74". WPIX. Tribune Broadcasting. Retrieved May 26, 2016. 
  4. ^ Broadway World Staff (May 25, 2016). "Original COMPANY Cast Member & 'ALICE' Star Beth Howland Dies at 74". Broadway World. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  5. ^ Adams, Char (May 25, 2016). "Alice Star Beth Howland Dead at 74". People. Time Inc. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  6. ^ Kenneally, Tim (May 25, 2016). "Beth Howland, Vera From Sitcom ‘Alice,’ Dies at 74". TheWrap. The Wrap News Inc. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  7. ^ Ellis, Ralph (May 25, 2016). "Actress Beth Howland dies; played waitress on TV show 'Alice'". CNN. Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  8. ^ Pedersen, Erik (May 25, 2016). "Beth Howland Dies: Actress Who Played Vera On ‘Alice’ Was 74". Deadline.com. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  9. ^ a b "Terrible Things My Mother Told Me". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  10. ^ O'Connor, John (January 19, 1988). "TV Review; 'Terrible Things My Mother Told Me'". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  11. ^ Associated Press Staff (May 25, 2016). "Actress Beth Howland, who played Vera on ’Alice’, dies at 74". New York Daily News. Daily News, L.P. Retrieved May 25, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Li'l Abner". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 25, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 25, 2016. 
  14. ^ "The Ted Bessell Show". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 25, 2016. 
  15. ^ "You Can't Take It with You". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 25, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Agatha Christie's: A Caribbean Mystery". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 25, 2016. 

External links[edit]