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)
View company contact information for It's a Living on IMDbPro.
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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:
One of the most underrated comedies of the 1980's It's A Living 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:

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
One of the most underrated comedies of the 1980's It's A Living, 15 April 2011
Author: rcj5365 from Durham, North Carolina

This sitcom was one of the most underrated shows of the 1980's and here's why. Like the previous comments,I was very surprised at the glaring omission to the show's initial history. The show lasted six seasons which seasons 1 thru 2 ran from 1980 until 1982,and seasons 3 thru 6 ran from 1985 until 1989 producing 120 episodes(39 out those episodes were on ABC,while the 81 of those episodes went into syndication).

First of all,the series "It's A Living" ran on the ABC-TV network for two seasons from the premiere pilot episode on October 30,1980 until June 11,1982. During it's run on ABC,only 39 episodes were produced of the series before the network canceled the show in 1982. This sexy comedy about five pretty waitresses working at a posh Los Angeles restaurant located in the Bonaventure Hotel was the brainchild of creators Stu Silver,along with Dick Clair and Jenna McMahon(of "Mama's Family",and were the head writers for "The Carol Burnett Show") under the production of Paul Junger Witt,Susan Harris and Tony Thomas(of "Soap","Benson",and later on "Empty Nest" fame)under their production company Witt-Thomas-Harris Productions(they were also the executive producers of the series). The show centered around the lives and situations of the waitresses and other employees that worked at the posh restaurant that located inside the upper level of the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. Nancy Beebe(Marian Mercer)was their supervisor,trying to go through the motions and situations involving not only customers,but the daily work of employees Jan(Barrie Youngfellow),Dot(Gail Edwards),Vicki(Wendy Schaal),brassy Cassie(Ann Jillian),and Sonny(Paul Kreppel),the self-absorbed wise cracking pianist. Along with battling customers and chattering about their home life,the girls all giggled a lot,paraded around in "skimpy outfits",and made jokes about whatever went on or happened during or outside the workplace. Comedical hijinks and situations came about within the staff of the restaurant each week.

During its initial run on ABC,the network used this as a vehicle for a actress Ann Jillian and most of the situations that went on within the series were cast around her. But that didn't help things much in the long run. ABC-TV,however had a good premise and faith in this show. Despite a shaky first season,when the show was on Thursday nights opposite "Mangum,P.I." which clobbered it in the ratings. By the show's second season,the show was moved to Tuesday nights. In addition,two new cast members were added;Maggie(Louise Lasser),and Dennis(Earl Boen),but that didn't help neither. Out of the 39 episodes that aired on ABC,the final episode for the network aired on June 11,1982 with episode No. 27 "Farewell To Arm". Repeat of these episodes lasted until September 10,1982.

Out of all the cast members that were associated with this series,only four of them remained with the show from beginning to the end:actors Marian Mercer,Barrie Youngfellow,Gail Edwards,and Paul Kreppel. Three years after leaving ABC,with its original title and most of the cast of "It's A Living" returned to the air with new episodes produced for first run syndication. Added to the new cast were Amy(Crystal Bernard), Ginger(Sheryl Lee Ralph),Howard(Richard Stahl),and in several episodes for the new syndication version marked the return of television veteran Danny Thomas(playing Cassie's grandfather). Ann Jillian's character Cassie got married at the end of the 1985-1986 season. Out of the 81 episodes that were in syndication,the third season began with episode No. 28 "Harassed",that premiered on September 23, 1985. But the rest of the episodes during its run in syndication had their moments whether good or bad,depending on the outcome,but by the sixth and final season,it didn't help much in the ratings. The final episode of the series was presented in episode No. 120 was "The Special Episode",that featured previous moments and flashbacks from several episodes including the ones that aired during its initial run on ABC that aired in national syndication on January 31,1989.

FYI: For you true "TV Trivia" fans out there. Here's and update on the two waitresses who left after Season One. Actress Susan Sullivan,who played Lois,went on the star in the CBS prime-time serial "Falcon Crest" as Maggie Gioberti for its entire nine-year-run. She was also Greg's mom on "Dharma and Greg" and was the mom on Drew Carey's sitcom series. She is now playing Martha Rogers on the ABC crime-drama series "Castle". Let's not forget those Tylenol commercials she did! As for actress Wendy Schaal,she starred for one season as Mr. Roarke's goddaughter,Julie on "Fantasy Island" and appeared on various TV shows during the mid-1980's and throughout the 1990's. Schaal is doing voice-over work these days as the voice of Francine Smith on the FOX animated series "American Dad". As for Crystal Bernard,she went on to star in the long-running NBC comedy series "Wings" and was also known during her stint with this series was a successful pop singer who scored a huge hit on Billboard's top 100 charts during the 1980's that featured her biggest song with a duet with pop king Peter Cetera. And as for Sheryl Lee Ralph,she was already a accomplished Broadway singer and Tony award winning actress before she came onto this series. During the series and in several episodes you got the chance to hear some of Miss Ralph's great singing voice too! She was also in the TV series "Moesha",playing the mother figure for songstress Brandy,that lasted more than seven seasons.

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