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Beth Howland, star of 'Alice' and other '70s and '80s TV sitcoms, dead at 74

LOS ANGELES — Beth Howland, the comedic actress who played bubblheaded sidekick Vera in the 1970s and '80s sitcom Alice, has died, according to the Associated Press. She was 74.

Howland died Dec. 31 of lung cancer in Santa Monica, but she didn't want there to be an announcement or memorial service of any kind, her husband told the AP.

The Boston native got her start on Broadway, where TV executives from CBS spotted her and offered her a small role in The Mary Tyler Moore Show. 

She moved to Los Angeles and kicked around small parts on sitcoms like The Love Boat before finally landing steady work on Alice as Vera Gorman, the ditzy second banana to the saucy diner waitress Alice Hyatt (Linda Lavin). The show ran from 1976-1985.

Howland is survived by her husband, the actor Charles Kimbrough, and a daughter from her previous marriage to actor Michael J. Pollard.

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