Portland, Maine, USA
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Linda Lavin (born October 15, 1937) is an American singer and actress. She is best known for playing the title character in the sitcom Alice and for her Broadway performances. Born in Portland, Maine to musically-talented parents, Lavin has been onstage since the age of 5. Upon her graduation from the College of William and Mary, she had already received her Actors` Equity Association card. Before her career in stage, began she worked maintenance at The Velvet Touch in Flint, Michigan. She was a member of the Compass Players in the late 1950s. By the early 1960s, Lavin made a name for herself in New York City on Broadway and appeared on the (both 1966) cast recordings of The Mad Show (on which her performance of Stephen Sondheim`s "The Boy From..." gained note) and "It`s a Bird...It`s a Plane...It`s Superman" (from which one of her numbers, "You`ve Got Possibilities," was the album`s best-received song and, years later, was featured on a Pillsbury commercial). In 1967, Lavin made an appearance as Gloria Thorpe in a television version of the musical Damn Yankees with Phil Silvers. In 1969, Lavin married actor Ron Leibman, and by 1973 the couple had arrived in Hollywood.
After various guest appearances on episodic television series such as The Nurses, Rhoda, Harry O and Kaz, Lavin landed a recurring role on Barney Miller during the first and second seasons. She left Barney Miller to star in the lead role in Alice. The show was a popular hit for CBS, and ran from 1976 to 1985. The series was based on the Martin Scorsese-directed Ellen Burstyn film Alice Doesn`t Live Here Anymore. Lavin portrayed Alice Hyatt, the character that Burstyn had played, and for which she won an Oscar. Lavin performed the series` theme song, "There`s a New Girl in Town," which was written by David Shire and Alan and Marilyn Bergman and was updated for each of the first six seasons. During the series` nine-season run, Lavin earned two Golden Globe awards and an Emmy nomination, as well as a great deal of experience directing, especially during the later seasons. Lavin also played Debbie Walden, the wizened and former landlady of the character Vera Louise Gorman-Novak. Debbie eventually moved into Vera`s house, along with Vera`s husband, Elliot Novak, and the pastor who married them. Throughout her Alice years, Lavin was at one time the highest-paid actress on television. She made numerous television appearances outside of her sitcom, including hosting her own holiday special, Linda in Wonderland. Lavin made her feature film debut in The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984). Lavin began her career with Broadway appearances in the musicals A Family Affair and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, and plays such as Something Different, The Riot Act, and Cop-Out. Lavin first gained major notice for her appearance in the musical It`s a Bird...It`s a Plane...It`s Superman!. In her early years, Lavin also appeared in numerous off-Broadway productions, including Wet Paint, Little Murders, and the musical The Mad Show.
Lavin has been married three times. Her first marriage to Ron Leibman ended in divorce in 1981. Her second marriage to Kip Niven, who played the boyfriend of Beth Howland`s character, Vera Louise Gorman-Novak, ended in divorce in 1991. While Lavin has no biological children, she is the stepmother to Kip`s children Jim and Kate Niven and the grandmother to Jim`s sons Grayson and Talen. Lavin later married actor, artist and musician Steve Bakunas in 2005. The couple resides in Wilmington, North Carolina where they are committed community members working together to rehabilitate impoverished neighborhoods including renovating many homes, donating a park to the city and creating a community theater.
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Linda Lavin (born October 15, 1937) is an American singer and actress. She is known for playing the title character in the sitcom Alice and for her stage performances, both on Broadway and Off-Broadway.
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Lucille Potter Lavin
Actress, Director, Singer
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Portland Maine High School
College of William & Mary
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