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Linda Lavin

Linda Lavin

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: October 15, 1937 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Portland, Maine, USA Profession: actor, director, singer, producer, retail sales clerk, temporary office worker

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Linda Lavin was barely off the bus from the College of William and Mary when she landed her first professional New York engagement in the chorus of the off-Broadway revival of the Gershwin musical "Oh, Kay!" (1960). Two years later she made her Broadway debut in "A Family Affair", but she really came to prominence in 1966 for her work in the musical revue "The Mad Show" and as the show-stopping Sydney singing the Strouse-Adams score's best song, "You've Got Possibilities", in the Robert Benton-David Newman musical "It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman". A role in Alan Arkin's off-Broadway revival of Jules Feiffer's black comedy "Little Murders" and her Tony-nominated turn in Neil Simon's "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers" (both 1969) proved Lavin was more than just a musical actress, as did her participation in Paul Sills' experimental "Story Theatre" (1970), but with the downturn in NYC's theater fortunes during the early 70s, she decided to try her luck in California.The petite, dark-eyed Lavin made her TV-movie debut in "The Morning After" (ABC, 1974), starring Dick Van Dyke, and went on to create the recurring character of Detective Janet Wentworth for the 1975-76 season of ABC's "Barney...

Linda Lavin was barely off the bus from the College of William and Mary when she landed her first professional New York engagement in the chorus of the off-Broadway revival of the Gershwin musical "Oh, Kay!" (1960). Two years later she made her Broadway debut in "A Family Affair", but she really came to prominence in 1966 for her work in the musical revue "The Mad Show" and as the show-stopping Sydney singing the Strouse-Adams score's best song, "You've Got Possibilities", in the Robert Benton-David Newman musical "It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman". A role in Alan Arkin's off-Broadway revival of Jules Feiffer's black comedy "Little Murders" and her Tony-nominated turn in Neil Simon's "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers" (both 1969) proved Lavin was more than just a musical actress, as did her participation in Paul Sills' experimental "Story Theatre" (1970), but with the downturn in NYC's theater fortunes during the early 70s, she decided to try her luck in California.

The petite, dark-eyed Lavin made her TV-movie debut in "The Morning After" (ABC, 1974), starring Dick Van Dyke, and went on to create the recurring character of Detective Janet Wentworth for the 1975-76 season of ABC's "Barney Miller" before finding her niche as strong, independent single mother and waitress Alice Hyatt on the long-running sitcom, "Alice" (CBS, 1976-85). Using the series as a springboard, she began directing episodes of "Alice" and formed her own production company (Big Deal Films, Inc.), ultimately producing and starring in a number of CBS movies (i.e., "The $5.20 an Hour Dream" 1980) that reinforced her image as a struggling, underappreciated, working woman. Following the demise of "Alice", Lavin made a triumphant return to Broadway and won a Tony award playing the mother in the third installment of Simon's autobiographical trilogy, "Broadway Bound" (1986). Nightly delivering a memorable monologue about once dancing with George Raft, she managed to create a heartbreaking, showstopping moment. In 1990 ,she--somewhat less successfully--replaced Tyne Daly as the archetypal stage mother, Mama Rose, in the Broadway revival of "Gypsy".

Lavin earned an Emmy nomination as executive producer of "Flour Babies" (1990), a "CBS Schoolbreak Special" which she also directed, and executive produced and starred as Edie Kurland, a mother who finds a second career as a TV commentator working alongside her daughter, in ABC's short-lived sitcom "Room for Two" (1992-93). Broadway beckoned in 1993, and she scored again, replacing Tony-winner Madeline Kahn as Gorgeous Teitelbaum in Wendy Wasserstein's "The Sisters Rosensweig", followed by an OBIE-winning performance in "Death Defying Acts" (1995-96), a series of three one-acts written by Woody Allen, David Mamet and Elaine May (she starred in the Allen and Mamet plays). Lavin was back on the Great White Way earning acclaim (and another Tony nomination) as Mrs. Van Daan in the revival of "The Diary of Anne Frank" (1997-98) but left the production earlier than she had originally planned in order to co-star as Florrie Bloom, the recently widowed mother of an advertising executive, in the NBC sitcom "Conrad Bloom" (1998). Although her feature films are few (most notable is her debut, "The Muppets Take Manhattan" 1984), she continues to frequently star in TV-movies like "Best Friends For Life" (CBS, 1998).

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Flour Babies (1990) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Intern, The (2015)
3.
 Wanderlust (2012)
4.
5.
 Best Friends For Life (1998) Sarah
6.
8.
 I Want to Go Back Home (1989) Lena Apthrop
9.
 See You in the Morning (1989) Sidney
10.
 Lena: My 100 Children (1987) Lena Kuchler-Silberman
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Was a member of the Compass Players in the late 1950s
1960:
Made off-Broadway debut in the revival of the Gershwin musical "Oh, Kay!"
1962:
Made Broadway debut in the musical "A Family Affair"
1966:
Toured with the national company of "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever"
1966:
Gained notice for her appearance in the Broadway musical "It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman"
1966:
Made TV debut in the NBC made-for-TV movie "Damn Yankees," playing Gloria Thorpe
1970:
Received a Tony nomination for her supporting role in Neil Simon's "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers"
1974:
Appeared in the TV-movie "The Morning After" (ABC)
1975:
Landed recurring role as Detective Janice Wentworth on "Barney Miller" (ABC)
1976:
Starred as Alice Hyatt on the CBS sitcom "Alice"; also sang the theme song; earned an Emmy nomination in 1979 and a Golden Globe nomination in 1981
1980:
Began directing episodes of "Alice"
:
Formed Big Deal Films Inc.
1980:
Starred in the CBS TV-movie "The $5.20 an Hour Dream"
1983:
Made producing debut with "Another Woman's Child" (CBS); also starred
1984:
Made her feature film debut in "The Muppets Take Manhattan"
1986:
Re-teamed with Simon for her Tony winning role in "Broadway Bound"
1990:
Received an Emmy nomination as executive producer for "Flour Babies" (CBS); also directed
1990:
Replaced Tyne Daly as Mama Rose in the Broadway revival of "Gypsy"
1992:
Executive produced and starred as Edie Kurland on the short-lived ABC series "Room for Two"
1993:
Assumed stage role of Gorgeous in Wendy Wasserstein's "The Sisters Rosensweig"
1995:
Co-starred in the off-Broadway show "Death Defying Acts"
1995:
Portrayed Annette Funicello's mother Virginia in "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: The Annette Funicello Story" (CBS)
1996:
Executive produced and starred opposite Mary Tyler Moore in the Family Channel movie "Stolen Memories: Secrets from the Rose Garden"
1997:
Appeared in the stage revival of "The Diary of Anne Frank"; received a Tony Award nomination
1998:
Returned to series TV playing the widowed mother of the title character on the NBC sitcom "Conrad Bloom"
1999:
Starred opposite Samatha Mathis in the L.A. stage production of "Collected Stories"
2000:
Co-starred with Tony Roberts and Michelle Lee in the off-Broadway and Broadway production of "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife"; earned a Tony nomination
2002:
Reprised her role for a PBS production of "Collected Stories"
2004:
Guest starred on the Fox drama "The O.C." as Sandy Cohen's (Peter Gallagher) mother
2010:
Reprised role as the celebrated fiction writer in the Broadway production of "Collected Stories"; earned a Tony Award nomination for Leading Actress in a Play
2011:
Starred in the off-Broadway and Broadway production of "The Lyons"
2012:
Acted opposite Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston in the comedy feature "Wanderlust"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

College of William and Mary: Williamsburg , Virginia - 1959

Notes

The National Commission on Working Women cited Alice as "the ultimate working woman" and named its annual award the Alice.

About her character in "The Diary of Anne Frank": "In the old version of the play, she's more frivolous, and irrationally hysterical. In this version, Mrs Van Daan has dignity; she's vital and intelligent and productive. These were qualities we gleaned from the diary, but for dramatic purposes, were set aside the first time around . . . There's a point in this new version where I snap at Anne. I remember stopping during rehearsal and saying, 'Oh my God. I was just rude to Anne Frank.'" --Linda Lavin quoted by NEW YORK, November 24, 1997

"I love what I'm doing now. I'm like that Steven Sondheim lyric from 'I'm Still Here': 'Then you career from career to career.' That's me. My career looks like an EKG: It goes up and down, up and down, to the ground, it's straight, it flatlines for a couple of years . . ." --Lavin to INTHEATER, March 27, 1998

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Ron Leibman. Actor. Married on September 7, 1969; co-starred opposite Lavin in that year's NYC stage production of "Cop Out"; divorced in 1980.
husband:
Kip Niven. Actor, director. Married in 1982; Lavin filed for divorce in February 1990; Niven sought half of Lavin's $11 million in assets in the divorce settlement for alimony and child support for his teenage daughter and son from previous marriage; divorce proceedings overseen by Manhattan judge Phyllis Gangel-Jacob; divorce granted in July 1992 (Gangel-Jacob did not award any of Lavin's assets to Niven); born c. 1945; first wife died in car accident 1981 leaving him with two children Jim (born c. 1972) and Katie (born in 1977).
companion:
Steve Bakunas. Actor.

Family close complete family listing

father:
David J Lavin. Businessman.
mother:
Lucille Lavin. Former opera singer.

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