IMDb > "It's a Living" (1980)

"It's a Living" (1980) More at IMDbPro »TV series 1980-1989


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Dick Clair (created by)
Jenna McMahon (created by)
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Release Date:
30 October 1980 (USA) See more »
This series featured a group of waitresses (and a pianist, Sonny) who work at a fancy restaurant at the top of a skyscraper. Full summary »
User Reviews:
This show actually first aired on ABC from 1980-1982 See more (10 total) »


 (Series Cast Summary - 8 of 50)

Gail Edwards ... Dot Higgins (120 episodes, 1980-1989)
Barrie Youngfellow ... Jan Hoffmeyer Gray / ... (120 episodes, 1980-1989)

Paul Kreppel ... Sonny Mann (120 episodes, 1980-1989)

Marian Mercer ... Nancy Beebe (120 episodes, 1980-1989)

Crystal Bernard ... Amy Tompkins (93 episodes, 1985-1989)
Richard Stahl ... Howard Miller (93 episodes, 1985-1989)

Sheryl Lee Ralph ... Ginger St. James (71 episodes, 1986-1989)

Ann Jillian ... Cassie Cranston (49 episodes, 1980-1986)

Series Directed by
J.D. Lobue (40 episodes, 1985-1987)
Steve Zuckerman (15 episodes, 1987-1989)
Joel Zwick (10 episodes, 1980-1981)
John Bowab (10 episodes, 1981-1982)
Jay Sandrich (7 episodes, 1980-1985)
Gil Junger (7 episodes, 1987-1989)
Gary Brown (7 episodes, 1987)
Paul Kreppel (6 episodes, 1987-1989)
Bob Sweeney (6 episodes, 1987-1988)
Christine Ballard (3 episodes, 1987-1988)
Doug Smart (3 episodes, 1987-1988)
Neema Barnette (3 episodes, 1988-1989)
Marc Sotkin (3 episodes, 1988-1989)
Series Writing credits
Dick Clair (120 episodes, 1980-1989)
Jenna McMahon (120 episodes, 1980-1989)
Stu Silver (120 episodes, 1980-1989)
Marc Sotkin (27 episodes, 1985-1989)
Tom Whedon (27 episodes, 1985-1989)
Roger Garrett (21 episodes, 1986-1989)
Sheldon Bull (10 episodes, 1980-1985)
Greg Antonacci (6 episodes, 1981-1982)
Andrew Guerdat (5 episodes, 1985-1987)
Steve Kreinberg (5 episodes, 1985-1987)
Wally Dalton (3 episodes, 1980-1981)
Shelley Zellman (3 episodes, 1980-1981)
Gloria Banta (3 episodes, 1981-1982)
Deborah Leschin (3 episodes, 1981-1982)
Barbara Benedek (3 episodes, 1981)
Gene Braunstein (3 episodes, 1986-1988)
Bob Perlow (3 episodes, 1986-1988)
Barry Bleach (2 episodes, 1987-1988)
Kenny Wolin (2 episodes, 1987-1988)
Alicia Marie Schudt (2 episodes, 1988-1989)

Series Produced by
Paul Junger Witt .... executive producer / producer (120 episodes, 1980-1989)
Tony Thomas .... executive producer / producer (120 episodes, 1980-1989)
David Auerbach .... associate producer (12 episodes, 1980-1982)
Greg Antonacci .... producer (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
Gloria Banta .... producer (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
Deborah Leschin .... co-producer (2 episodes, 1981-1982)

Tom Whedon .... producer (unknown episodes)
Series Original Music by
George Aliceson Tipton (120 episodes, 1980-1989)
Series Cinematography by
Richard Hissong (unknown episodes)
Series Film Editing by
Skip Collector (73 episodes, 1985-1988)
Geoff Browne (3 episodes, 1981-1982)
Bob Shafer (2 episodes, 1981-1982)

Brent Carpenter (unknown episodes)
Series Casting by
Rhonda Young (4 episodes, 1980-1982)
Series Production Design by
Edward Stephenson (120 episodes, 1980-1989)
Series Art Direction by
Garvin Eddy (3 episodes, 1981-1982)
Series Costume Design by
Judy Evans (4 episodes, 1980-1982)
Series Makeup Department
Dale Miller .... personal hair stylist: Ann Jillian / key hair stylist / ... (97 episodes, 1980-1989)
Joyce Conroy .... hair stylist (4 episodes, 1980-1982)
Ray Steele .... makeup artist (2 episodes, 1980-1981)
Jerry Cash .... makeup artist (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
Series Production Management
Steve Auer .... unit manager (3 episodes, 1980-1982)
Gil Junger .... post-production supervisor (3 episodes, 1981-1982)
Series Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Skip Collector .... associate director (20 episodes, 1988-1989)
Ellen Gittelsohn .... associate director (3 episodes, 1980-1982)
Series Sound Department
Douglas Shamburger .... sound utility (13 episodes, 1981-1986)
Rich Jacob .... audio (3 episodes, 1980-1981)
Allen Patapoff .... recording / rerecording / ... (3 episodes, 1981-1982)
Series Camera and Electrical Department
Ritch Kenney .... camera operator (71 episodes, 1985-1989)
Tom Faigh .... camera operator (15 episodes, 1985-1986)
Jan Lowry .... camera operator (3 episodes, 1980-1982)
D.J. Diomedes .... camera operator (2 episodes, 1980-1981)
Mark Buxbaum .... lighting (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
Bill Scott .... camera operator (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
Carol Wetovich .... camera operator (2 episodes, 1981-1982)

Dave Heckman .... camera operator (unknown episodes)
George Palmer .... video engineer (unknown episodes)
Series Costume and Wardrobe Department
Mary Taylor .... costumer (2 episodes, 1981-1982)

Marlene Hajdu .... on-set costumer (unknown episodes)
Julie Rhine .... costumer (unknown episodes)
Series Editorial Department
Larry Mazzeo .... post-production coordinator (2 episodes, 1980-1981)
Carol Collier .... post-production coordinator (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
Howard Murray .... editorial supervisor (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
Series Music Department
George Aliceson Tipton .... composer: theme music (120 episodes, 1980-1989)
Leslie Bricusse .... lyricist: theme music / lyrics: theme music (3 episodes, 1980-1981)
Scott Gale .... music coordinator (3 episodes, 1981-1982)
Series Other crew
Fred D'Aguilar .... technical director (8 episodes, 1980-1982)
Carl Lauten .... stage manager (3 episodes, 1980-1982)
Sue Snyder .... post production executive / production secretary (3 episodes, 1980-1982)
Sheldon Bull .... executive story consultant (3 episodes, 1981-1982)
Laurie Gilbert .... production associate (3 episodes, 1981-1982)
Susan Palladino .... assistant to executive producer / production secretary (2 episodes, 1980-1981)
Barbara Benedek .... story editor (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
Tom Carpenter .... stage manager (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
David F. Chen .... technical manager (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
Helen Claire .... production staff (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
Adria Horton .... production staff (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
Vicki S. Horwitz .... production staff (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
T.J. Johnston .... production coordinator (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
Colleen Minahan .... production assistant (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
Linda C. Valles .... assistant to executive producer / assistant to producers (2 episodes, 1981)

George Palmer .... video (unknown episodes)
Deborah Scarborough .... script coordinator (unknown episodes)
Harry Waterson .... production executive (unknown episodes)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Making a Living" - USA (second season title)
See more »
30 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
Referenced in Battle of the Network Stars IX (1980) (TV)See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
33 out of 38 people found the following review useful.
This show actually first aired on ABC from 1980-1982, 30 August 2003
Author: vs661966 from Scranton, PA

Since this is such an excellent database, I was surprised at the glaring omission of this show's initial history. "It's a Living" first ran on the ABC network for two seasons before it popped up in syndication three years later. The show always centered around the lives of the waitresses who worked at Above the Top, a posh restaurant in Los Angeles. The five original waitresses were Ann Jillian (Cassie Cranston), Barrie Youngfellow (Jan Hoffmeyer), Gail Edwards (Dot Higgins), Susan Sullivan (Lois Adams), and Wendy Schaal (Vicki Allen). At the end of the 1980-1981 season, Susan Sullivan and Wendy Schaal were gone. Louise Lasser ("Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman") was cast the next year as a new waitress named Maggie McBurney and she lasted for just that season. At this time the show was renamed "Making a Living."

When the show started its run in syndication, it was known as "It's a Living" again and much of the original cast was back. Ann Jillian left after the 1985-1986 season.

Marian Mercer, who played authoritarian supervisor Nancy Beebe, and Paul Kreppel, who played egotistical lounge pianist Sonny Mann, were with the show from the beginning and remained throughout its entire run.

Though it was never as immensely popular in its original run as it could have been, the show was light and humorous with a talented, comedic ensemble cast. I agree with the previous comment regarding Marian Mercer. She is truly an underrated comedienne and anytime she is in a scene it is 100 times funnier. Marian Mercer could read the telephone book and it would be hilarious! (Catch her in the comedy movie "9 to 5" with Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton and Lily Tomlin. She has a secondary role as ditzy Missy Hart; she plays the wife of Dabney Coleman's character, Franklin Hart, the boss who makes life hell for his office staff.) Paul Kreppel was also very funny. I especially liked the sparring between the characters of Nancy and Dot, who disliked each other. Actually, all the waitresses hated Nancy, who was their supervisor, and they were always exchanging verbal barbs with her.

FYI... For you true "TV Trivia" fans, here is an update on the two waitresses who left after the first season. Susan Sullivan went on to star in the CBS prime time serial "Falcon Crest" as Maggie Gioberti for almost its entire run. More recently, she appeared on "Dharma & Greg" as Greg's mother. And let's not forget those Tylenol commercials she did! Wendy Schaal starred for one season (1981-1982) as Mr. Roarke's god-daughter, Julie, on Fantasy Island. She shared hosting duties with Tattoo, played by Herve Villechaize (who was in several Dunkin' Donuts commercials featuring mini donuts--a career highlight, I'm sure!--before he committed suicide). Julie and Tattoo were both replaced in the next and final season by Lawrence, played by Christopher Hewett, who later starred as "Mr. Belvedere" and on and on it goes...

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