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

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


User Rating:
7.4/10   283 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Up 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Dick Clair (created by)
Jenna McMahon (created by)
View company contact information for It's a Living on IMDbPro.
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
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:
A good series the network didn't stick with 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
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)
Fred D'Aguilar .... technical director (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.
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
A good series the network didn't stick with, 25 October 2006
Author: lambiepie-2 from Los Angeles, CA

This was one of my favorite television shows as a teen.

It was different - in as much as it centered in on the lives of waitresses at the an upscale restaurant which I knew was the Bonneventure Hotel in Los Angeles. The ABC Network used this as a vehicle for actress Ann Jillian and casted around her red head actress Barrie Youngfellow, Gail Edwards Susan Sullivan and Wendy Schaal. Then after a season, Louise Lassiter came in and left. The program was allegedly plagued by low ratings, and went into the new medium of "first run syndication". First run syndication was the new idea that was to let folks know there was an audience for material but not as large as needed for Network TV. Network TV never thought it would last. This was one of the pioneer programs that set into motion that it could.

"It's A Living" on the ABC Network (I do remember Danny Devito from the show Taxi, as his scum bag character Louie DePama, promoting the series with platinum blonde Ann Jillian) turned into "Making a Living" for a season and then turned back into "It's A Living" for syndication to my memory.

Whether in syndication or on Network, the women came from all walks of life and wanted to become all sorts of things: actresses, artists, singers, dancers, teachers and to make money - they were waitresses.In it's syndication, the women were more career oriented and you understood that their waitressing was "just a living". The series followed them, their lives, their jobs at the "Above the Top" upscale restaurant. The waitress uniforms were designed interestingly - and they had several.

Under syndication, "It's a Living" came up with a new and younger cast with Barrie Youngfellow, Gail Edwards, Wendy Schall staying and adding what is now very familiar faces: lovely Crystal Bernard, and Sheryl Lee Ralph. In syndication, the scripts were more light hearted, funnier, a bit younger, and there was more interaction - a camaraderie lets say - between the waitresses and their lives. The Hostess, actress Marian Mercer, was a great constant between both series - she took the job very seriously and in the syndicated version was more of a "strict den mom" than in the ABC Network version more of the Hostess being a "snotty upper class twit" and letting long term waitress Barrie Youngfellow take over sometimes in the Hostess duties was nice to watch as well.

The additional comedy came from the piano player character, Sonny, who was a wonderful comic foil and gave the series its air of a "upscale restaurant" complete with live lounge-lizard singer.

I got a better understanding of being a waitress and what they go through by watching this series: waitressing didn't bring in the worst people in the world or wasn't the worst job in the world -- it's only a living.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (10 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for "It's a Living" (1980)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Season 2 - Why So Many Changes!? onthemarktexas
'That's a crime' Why we'll never see this on DVD tbird7090
It's a Living DVD/Video al-leeder
See more »


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Eyes Wide Shut August Rush School of Rock Stateside A Prairie Home Companion
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Episode guide Full cast and crew Company credits
News articles IMDb TV section IMDb Comedy section
IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.

You may add a new episode for this TV series by clicking the 'add episode' button