Beth Howland in Li'l Abner (1959)
May 28, 1941
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||December 31, 2015
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Lung cancer|
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 (1974).
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.
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. After appearing in Company, she left New York to relocate to California, where she made guest appearances on television series such as Love, American Style, Cannon, Mary Tyler Moore (twice--once as Bert Convy's wife, once as a hook-up of Ted Bessell), Little House on the Prairie, Fantasy Island, Eight Is Enough and The Love Boat. For her work on Alice, Howland received four Golden Globe Award 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.
She remained on Alice throughout its nine seasons. After the sitcom 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 ABC Afterschool Special titled "Terrible Things My Mother Told Me".
From 1961–69, Howland was married to character actor Michael J. Pollard, with whom she had a daughter. 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.
Howland died of lung cancer on December 31, 2015, at age 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.
|1959||Li'l Abner||Clem's wife|
|1974||Thunderbolt and Lightfoot||Vault Manager's Wife|
|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.|
|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.|
|1980||The Wild Wacky Wonderful World of Winter||Stripper||Made-for-TV-Movie|
|1981||The Love Boat||Eloise Farnsworth||Episodes:
|1982||American Playhouse||Housewife||Episode: "Working" (S 1:Ep 14)|
|1983||The Love Boat||Jeannie Davis||Episodes:
|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.|
|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)|
|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)|
- "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
- 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.
- Associated Press Staff (May 25, 2016). "Beth Howland, Vera on TV sitcom ‘Alice’, dies at 74". WPIX. Tribune Broadcasting. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
- Broadway World Staff (May 25, 2016). "Original COMPANY Cast Member & 'ALICE' Star Beth Howland Dies at 74". Broadway World. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
- Adams, Char (May 25, 2016). "Alice Star Beth Howland Dead at 74". People. Time Inc. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
- Kenneally, Tim (May 25, 2016). "Beth Howland, Vera From Sitcom ‘Alice,’ Dies at 74". TheWrap. The Wrap News Inc. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
- Ellis, Ralph (May 25, 2016). "Actress Beth Howland dies; played waitress on TV show 'Alice'". CNN. Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
- 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.
- "Terrible Things My Mother Told Me". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
- 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.
- 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.
- "Li'l Abner". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
- "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
- "The Ted Bessell Show". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
- "You Can't Take It with You". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
- "Agatha Christie's: A Caribbean Mystery". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 25, 2016.