‘Alice’ Star Beth Howland Dead at 74

Actress Beth Howland, best known for her role as waitress Vera on the long-running CBS show Alice, has died. She was 74.

Howland died on Dec. 31 of lung cancer in Santa Monica, California, her husband, Murphy Brown actor Charles Kimbrough, told The Associated Press. There was no announcement of her death or a funeral service because that was the late star’s choice, he explained.

“It was the Boston side of her personality coming out,” Kimbrough shared with The New York Times. “She didn’t want to make a fuss.”

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Howland received four Golden Globe nominations for her role on Alice, which aired on CBS from 1976-1985, and was based on the 1974 Martin Scorcese film, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. The sitcom was set in a diner in Phoenix, Arizona, and Howland quickly became a fan favorite thanks to her ditzy, accident-prone character, Vera Louise Gorman. She also made a number of guest appearances on other popular television shows, including The Love Boat, Mary Tyler Moore, Little House on the Prairie, Murder, She Wrote, and Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.

Howland was also an accomplished Broadway actress, playing parts in Once Upon a Mattress, Bye Bye Birdie, High Spirits, and Darling of the Day.

She is survived by a daughter, Holly, from her previous marriage to Bonnie and Clyde actor Michael J. Pollard. Pollard and Howland split in 1969 after eight years of marriage.

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