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Beth Howland Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (8) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 28 May 1941Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Date of Death 31 December 2015Santa Monica, California, USA  (lung cancer)
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Beth Howland was born on May 28, 1941 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. She was an actress, known for Alice (1976), A Caribbean Mystery (1983) and You Can't Take It with You (1979). She was married to Charles Kimbrough and Michael J. Pollard. She died on December 31, 2015 in Santa Monica, California, USA.

Spouse (2)

Charles Kimbrough (2002 - 31 December 2015) (her death)
Michael J. Pollard (6 November 1961 - 1969) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (8)

Has one daughter with Pollard
In the mid to late 60s, she was the Salem Cigarette girl on television ("You can take Salem out of the country, but...")
Frequently appeared on the Broadway stage in the 1960s, into the early 1970s, most notably as Amy in Stephen Sondheim's "Company".
Beth Howland is still best remembered by the public for her comical character role, of Vera Louise Gorman, on CBS' weekly comedy series, Alice (1976).
After graduating from high school at age 16, she went to New York, where she was cast in a replacement role as Lady Beth in "Once Upon a Mattress" and as a dancer in "Bye Bye Birdie.".
Actor Vic Tayback, in his role as the cook and owner, Mel Sharples, in his greasy "Mel's Diner," featured in the CBS' situation comedy series "Alice," often used a scripted nick-name for his waitress Vera, the role Beth Howland performed - "Dinghy".
George Furth wrote eleven one-act plays planned for Kim Stanley as each of the separate leads. Hollywood actor Anthony Perkins, interested in directing, asked Stephen Sondheim to read the material. After Sondheim read the plays, Sondheim asked Harold Prince for his opinion; Harold Prince thought the plays would make the basis for a musical. The theme would be New York marriages with a central character to examine those marriages. Originally titled "Threes," its plot revolves around Bobby, a single man unable to commit fully to a steady relationship, let alone marriage, four married couples, and one single couple, who are his best friends, and the musical's additional roles include Bobby's three free-wheeling girl friends. Unlike most book musicals, which follow a clearly delineated plot, "Company" is a concept musical composed of short vignettes, presented in no particular chronological order, linked by a celebration for Bobby's 35th birthday. "Company" was among the first musicals to deal with adult themes and relationships. As Sondheim puts it, "Broadway theater has been for many years supported by upper-middle-class people with upper-middle-class problems. These people really want to escape that world when they go to the theatre, and then here we are with 'Company' talking about how we're going to bring it right back in their faces." "Company" opened in Boston in out-of-town tryouts, receiving mixed reviews, from the Boston Evening Globe "Brilliant", to Variety Magazine "The songs are for the most part undistinguished" and "As it stands now it's for ladies' matinees, homos and misogynists." The book was by George Furth; Lyrics and music was by Stephen Sondheim; Direction was by Harold Prince. "Company" opened on April 26, 1970, at the Alvin Theatre in New York City, where it ran for 705 performances after seven previews. Musical staging was by Michael Bennett, assisted by Bob Avian. The set design by Boris Aronson consisted of two working elevators and various vertical platforms that emphasized the musical's theme of isolation. The role of Robert, originally performed by Dean Jones, is the central character; his 35th birthday brings the group together. The original cast included Dean Jones, who had replaced Anthony Perkins early in the rehearsal period when Perkins departed to direct a play. Shortly after opening night, Jones withdrew from the show, allegedly due to illness, but actually due to stress he was suffering from ongoing divorce proceedings. He was replaced by his understudy Larry Kert, who had created the role of Tony in Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim's 1957 Broadway musical "West Side Story." Larry Kert earned rave reviews for his performance when the critics were invited to return soon after opening night. The original Broadway cast included Donna McKechnie, Susan Browning, Pamela Myers, Barbara Barrie, Charles Kimbrough, Merle Louise, Beth Howland, and Elaine Stritch. "Company" was honored with the following theatre awards: the 1971 New York Drama Desk Award for (1) Outstanding Book of a Musical awarded to George Furth; (2) Outstanding Director of a Musical awarded to Harold Prince; (3) Outstanding Lyrics and (4) Outstanding Music awarded to Stephen Sondheim; (5) Outstanding Set Design was awarded to Boris Aronson. The New York Theatre World Award was presented to actor Susan Browning. In an unusual move, the Tony Awards committee deemed Larry Kert eligible for a nomination, an honor usually reserved for the actor who technically originates a role. The musical was nominated for a record setting 14 Tony Award Nominations and won six. "Company" won the (1) Tony Award for Best Musical; (2) Tony Award Best Score (music) and (3) Tony Award Best Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim; (4) Tony Award Best Book of a Musical by George Furth; (5) Tony Award Best Direction for a Musical by Harold Prince; (6) Tony Award Best Scenic Design by Boris Aronson; Nominated for Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (7) Larry Kert; Nominated for Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical (8) Elaine Stritch and (9) Susan Browning; Nominated for Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (10) Charles Kimbrough; Nominated for Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical (11) Barbara Barrie and (12) Pamela Myers; Nominated for Tony Award Best Choreography (13) Michael Bennett; Nominated for Tony Award Best Lighting Design (14) Robert Ornbo. Note: In the early 1990s, Furth and Sondheim revised the libretto, cutting and altering dialogue that had become dated and rewriting the end to act one.
Beth Howland's husband, Broadway and film actor Charles Kimbrough, of the television series "Murphy Brown" fame, told the Associated Press that his wife, Beth Holland died December 31, 2015, of lung cancer in Santa Monica, California. 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. She was 74 years old. Beth Howland was best known for her role as a ditzy waitress on the 1970's and '80's CBS popular hit series-sitcom "Alice." Howland was born May 28, 1941, in Boston. At 16, she landed a dancing role on Broadway alongside Dick Van Dyke in the musical play "Bye Bye Birdie" (1960-1961). Howland landed a principle role in the 1970 revolutionary stage musical production of Stephen Sondheim's "Company," where she met her husband Charles Kimbrough. Beth's role and performance as manic Amy literally stopped the show when Beth Howland performed the list of reasons she is "Not Getting Married Today." CBS television talent noticed her, brought Howland to Hollywood after the show's Broadway closing, for a bit part on "The Mary Tyler More Show," filmed at the CBS' Studio Center lot. Small roles on "The Love Boat" and "Little House on the Prairie" followed and a major break came when she was cast as Vera Louise Gorman on "Alice," a comedy set in an Arizona greasy spoon diner based on the 1974 Martin Scorsese film, "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore." Overnight, her life changed, Howland told the Los Angeles Times in 1987. "I would walk into a restaurant and people would stare," she said. She hung on to her television role in "Alice," telling The Los Angeles Times that "it's crazy to leave a popular rated television series." Burnout was a hazard of playing the same role year after year, she said, and she would later struggle with being typecast. But there were "other considerations." she told The Los Angeles Times. "Like the dentist, Like not wanting to have tuna noodle casserole every night." Beth Howland earned four Golden Globe nominations during the comedy series' 1976-1985 run for her performance as the naive Vera. Howland described herself in a 1979 Associated Press profile as "very shy" and said she saw something of herself in the character. "I'm a little naive sometimes but not as much as Vera. I guess I'm really a cynic," she said. After CBS' sitcom comedy "Alice" series ended, Howland slowly disappeared from television acting, aside from bit parts on television series including CBS' "Murder, She Wrote".

Personal Quotes (2)

[on her tour-de-force rendition of "Getting Married Today" in the play "Company"] It was a perfect song for me. I'm not a singer, and it has maybe four notes.
[on researching her role as Vera the waitress, since she had never actually worked as a server in real life] But I just kept sitting around coffee shops and watching how it's done, and now I can carry four dinners.

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