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Original COMPANY Cast Member & 'ALICE' Star Beth Howland Dies at 74


The New York Times reports that Beth Howland, perhaps best known as sweet but clumsy waitress Vera Louise Gorman in the 1970's sitcom ALICE, passed away from lung cancer on Dec. 31, 2015, in Santa Monica, CA. She was 74. Her husband, actor Charles Kimbrough, revealed the news on Tuesday, explaining that he had refrained from announcing her death earlier in keeping with her wishes.

Howland originated the role of Amy in the original Broadway cast of Stephen Sondheim's COMPANY, in which she introduced the patter song "Getting Married Today." She made her Broadway debut in 1959 as Lady Beth in the Carol Burnett musical Once Upon a Mattress. She went on to have roles in the musicals Bye Bye Birdie, High Spirits,Drat! The Cat!, and Darling of the Day.

After appearing in COMPANY, Howland left the New York stage to relocate to the West Coast, where she gave guest appearances on television series such as Love, American Style, Cannon, The Rookies, Bronk, Mary Tyler Moore, Little House on the Prairie, Fantasy Island, and others. For her work on Alice, Howland received four Golden Globe nominations.

While she was on Alice, she made regular guest appearances on several series, including Eight Is Enough and The Love Boat. She also took on numerous telefilm roles, including You Can't Take It with You (as Essie), Working (singing, "Just a Housewife") and A Caribbean Mystery. She also performed in a 1980 HBO comedy special called The Wild Wacky Wonderful World of Winter in which she played a stripper who instead of stripping put clothes on in an effort to keep warm.

After ALICE ended its run in 1985, Howland made occasional guest appearances (including Murder, She Wrote, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and The Tick) and starred in the telefilm Terrible Things My Mother Told Me.

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