An actress who is remembered for playing a beloved character on a popular comedy series has died. The AP reports that Beth Howland, known for her role as the ditzy waitress Vera on the CBS sitcom “Alice,” died of lung cancer.
Howland, 74, reportedly died Dec. 31 in Santa Monica, Calif., although her death was not publicly announced at the time. Her husband, actor Charles Kimbrough, has confirmed her death.
“Howland was born May 28, 1941, in Boston,” the AP reports. “At 16, she landed a role on Broadway alongside Dick Van Dyke in ‘Bye Bye Birdie.’ CBS later noticed Howland on stage in the 1970 production of ‘Company’ and brought her to Hollywood for a bit part on ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show.'”
She had a number of minor roles on TV, including “The Love Boat” and “Little House on the Prairie,” before landing her career-defining role on “Alice,” which was based on the 1974 Martin Scorsese film “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.” The comedy, which also starred Linda Lavin and Vic Tayback, went on to a nine-season run from 1976-1985, with Howland earning four Golden Globe nominations for her work on the show.
Here’s a short clip from “Alice” featuring Howland’s character, Vera, demonstrating scream therapy.