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Beth Howland
Beth Howland.JPG
Howland in Li'l Abner (1959)
Elizabeth Howland

(1939-05-28)May 28, 1939
Died December 31, 2015(2015-12-31) (aged 76)
Occupation Actress
Years active 1959–2002
Known for Alice
(m. 1961; div. 1969)
(m. 2002)
Children 1

Elizabeth Howland (May 28, 1939 – December 31, 2015) was an American actress. She worked on stage and television, and was best known for playing waitress Vera Gorman in the sitcom Alice.

Howland originated the role of Amy in the original Broadway cast of Stephen Sondheim's Company, where she introduced the patter song "Getting Married Today".

Early life

Howland was born on May 28, 1939, in Brighton, Massachusetts. At the age of 16, she left home and followed a dancer friend to New York City. After a time of struggling, Howland made her Broadway debut in 1959 as Lady Beth in the 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 the movie 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; The Mary Tyler Moore Show; Little House on the Prairie; 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 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, "Terrible Things My Mother Told Me".

Personal life

From 1961 to 1969, Howland was married to actor Michael J. Pollard, with whom she had a daughter.

In 2002, she wed actor Charles Kimbrough and remained married to him until her death in 2015. Kimbrough and Howland had appeared together in Company.


Howland died of lung cancer on December 31, 2015, at age 76. Per her request, her death was not reported to the media until May 24, 2016.


Year Title Role Notes
1959 Li'l Abner Clem's wife Uncredited
Musical film based on the comic strip of the same name created by Al Capp and the successful Broadway musical of the same name that opened in 1956 and was produced by Norman Panama & directed by Melvin Frank.
1970 Original Cast Album: Company Herself / Amy Documentary film by D. A. Pennebaker, observing the marathon recording session to create the original cast album for the Stephen Sondheim musical Company.
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)
1974 Thunderbolt and Lightfoot Vault Manager's Wife Uncredited
Crime film written and directed by Michael Cimino.
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 ... Made-for-TV-Movie
1981 The Love Boat Eloise Farnsworth Episodes:
  • "Farnsworth's Fling/Three in a Bed/I Remember Helen/Merrill, Melanie & Melanesia/Gopher Farnsworth Smith: Part 1" (S 5:Ep 8)
  • "Farnsworth's Fling/Three in a Bed/I Remember Helen/Merrill, Melanie & Melanesia/Gopher Farnsworth Smith: Part 2" (S 5:Ep 9)
1982 American Playhouse Housewife Episode: "Working" (S 1:Ep 14)
1983 The Love Boat Jeannie Davis Episodes:
  • "Hits and Missus/Return of Annabelle/Just Plain Folks Medicine/Caught in the Act/The Real Thing/Do Not Disturb/Lulu & Kenny (Country Music Jamboree): Part 1" (S 6:Ep 27)
  • "Hits and Missus/Return of Annabelle/Just Plain Folks Medicine/Caught in the Act/The Real Thing/Do Not Disturb/Lulu & Kenny (Country Music Jamboree): Part 2" (S 6:Ep 28)
Captain Bernice Tobin Episode: "Youth Takes a Holiday/Don't Leave Home Without It/Prisoner of Love" (S 7:Ep 4)
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 (voice) 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 (voice) Episode: "And She Was Gone" (S 2:Ep 23)
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