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‘Alice’ Cast: Where Are They Now?

Find out about behind-the-scenes drama on the set!


The Alice cast entered our collective heart in the 1970s and Alice was a sitcom that would resonate with audiences for years to come. Created by Robert Getchell and airing on CBS, the show ran from 1976 to 1985, spanning nine seasons and 202 episodes. It was television magic combining a blend of humor, drama and relatable characters.

The storyline revolves around Alice Hyatt, a widowed mother who, after her husband’s death, embarks on a journey with her young son, Tommy, to pursue her dream of becoming a singer in Los Angeles.

Fate intervenes, and she finds herself in Phoenix, Arizona, working as a waitress at Mel’s Diner to make ends meet. Her fellow waitresses are raucous redhead Flo and naive Vera. Flo is later replaced by sassy Belle, who is soon replaced by spunky curly-haired Jolene. The diner becomes the focal point for a diverse group of characters, providing the backdrop for comedic and heartwarming tales of everyday life.

(Alice Cast) Vic Tayback with cast members Linda Lavin (C), Beth Howland (R), Celia Weston and Philip McKeon
Vic Tayback with cast members Linda Lavin, Beth Howland, Celia Weston and Philip McKeon. (1985) Bob Riha Jr / Contributor/Getty

Alice became a cultural phenomenon, resonating with audiences due to its relatable characters and the perfect balance of comedy and drama. The show’s exploration of themes like single parenthood, friendship and pursuing dreams struck a chord with viewers, contributing to its lasting popularity. The show garnered a dedicated fan base and consistently high ratings, solidifying its status as a classic in the sitcom genre.

The show’s influence on subsequent sitcoms is evident, as it paved the way for more nuanced portrayals of working-class characters and tackled social issues with humor and heart.

Each cast member contributed to the success of Alice, bringing authenticity and depth to their characters, creating a television experience that remains beloved by fans to this day.

The Alice cast then and now.

Linda Lavin as Alice

Linda Lavin as Alice (Alice Cast)
1985/2023 Film Favorites / Stringer/Getty; John Lamparski / Stringer/Getty

Born in 1937, in Portland, Maine, Lavin had a successful career on Broadway including roles in Oh, Kay! (1960), A Family Affair, (1962) and It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman (1966). She then turned to television and had bit parts in several shows, including Barney Miller, before getting the title role in Alice. She blended her wit, vulnerability and real-life struggles into a character that resonated with fans.

After the series, Lavin went back to the theater and starred in many productions, including Broadway Bound (1987), Death Defying Acts (1995), The Diary of Anne Frank (1998), and Tales of the Allergist Wife (2000).

Lavin then returned to television and made appearances in a variety of shows, including The Sopranos, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The O.C., and Madame Secretary. Most recently, she was in the comedy series Yvette Slosch, Agent (2020).

Lavin was married and divorced twice to actors (Ron Leibman and Kip Niven) before hitting gold with her third husband, actor Steve Bakunas, to whom she has been married since 2005.

Did you know? Linda Lavin sang the theme song There’s a New Girl in Town for the show Alice.

Vic Tayback as Mel in the Alice cast

Vic Tayback as Mel (Alice Cast)
1985Bob Riha Jr / Contributor/Getty

Born in 1930 in Brooklyn, New York, Vic Tayback played the lovable but gruff Mel Sharples, the owner of Mel’s Diner.

Tayback got his start in Hollywood in the 1950s with bit parts in several television series, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In the 1960s, he had spots on I Dream of Jeannie, Get Smart and The Monkeys. His big break, however, was playing Mel on the Alice cast.

After the series ended, he had guest appearances in several shows, including Love Boat, Murder She Wrote, and Crazy Like a Fox. His most recent film role was in the 1989 movie All Dogs Go to Heaven.

Unfortunately, Tayback died in 1990 from a heart attack. He was 60.

Did you know? Tayback won two Golden Globe awards for his performance in Alice.

Beth Howland as Vera in the Alice cast

Beth Howland as Vera (Alice Cast) CBS

Born in 1941 in Boston, Massachusetts, Howland played the quirky, sweet, but ditzy waitress Vera for all nine seasons.

Before joining the Alice cast, Howland had notable roles on Broadway, including earning a Theatre World Award for her performance in Company.

However, her breakout role was playing Vera. After the series, she had parts in several television shows, including Murder, She Wrote, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Howland passed away in 2016 at the age of 74. 

Did you know? In the 1960s, Howland was cast as the Salem cigarette girl in television ads.

Philip McKeon as Tommy

Philip McKeon as Tommy (Alice Cast)
1982/1980 MediaPunch / Contributor/Getty; Vinnie Zuffante / Stringer/Getty

Born in 1964 in Westbury, New York, McKeon played the role of Tommy, Alice’s son, in the Alice cast. His youthful charm and playful demeanor added a nice element to the show.

After the series, McKeon appeared in several other popular sitcoms, including Chips, Fantasy Island, and The Love Boat. He also had parts in movies including Return to Horror High and Ghoulies IV.

In addition to acting, McKeon was a producer, and he worked on several movies, including The Jacket and Murder in the First. He also hosted a radio show in Wimberley, Texas.

Unfortunately, McKeon died in 2019 of an undisclosed illness. He was 55.

Did you know? Philip McKeon is the older brother of the actress Nancy McKeon, who played Jo on the show Facts of Life.

Polly Holliday as Flo in the Alice cast

Polly Holliday as Flo (Alice Cast)
1985/ 2001 Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer/Getty; Evan Agostini / Contributor/Getty

Born in 1937 in Alabama, Polly Holiday was famous for playing the sassy, gum-cracking waitress Flo, whose signature line was “Kiss my grits!”

Holliday started her career on stage in various shows, including The Way of the World and  As You Like It. She had bit parts in several movies, including All the President’s Men.

After Alice, Holliday appeared in several other television shows, including Home Improvement, The Client, and Homicide. She also appeared in movies including Gremlins, Mr. Wrong, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Parent Trap.

Did you know? Holliday was such a hit with fans that she was given her own show, Flo, in 1980. Unfortunately, the show lasted only one season.

MUST-READ: Cast of ‘Gremlins’: See the Stars of the Madcap ’80s Horror-Comedy Then and Now

Diane Ladd as Belle

Diane Ladd as Belle (Alice Cast)
1981/2023 MediaPunch / Contributor/Getty; Slaven Vlasic / Contributor/Getty

Born in 1932, in Meridian, Mississippi, Diane Ladd played the character Belle, who was the waitress that replaced Flo (when Polly Holliday left the series). Before the Alice cast, Ladd made appearances in several television shows, including Hazel, The Fugitive, and Gunsmoke.

Ladd played Belle for 23 episodes (two seasons) of Alice. It was rumored that one of the reasons Polly Holliday left the series was because she didn’t get along with Linda Lavin, who played Alice. Ladd replaced Holliday, but she also didn’t get along with Lavin and left the show before the series ended.

After the Alice cast, Ladd had parts in several movies, including Wild at Heart (1990), Just Before I Go (2014), Joy (2015), and Charming Hearts of Men (2021). Most recently, she appeared in 2022’s Isle of Hope.

Did you know? Diane Ladd’s daughter is the actress Laura Dern.

Celia Weston as Jolene in the Alice cast

Celia Weston as Jolene (Alice Cast)
1985/2023 Bob Riha Jr / Contributor/Getty; Roy Rochlin / Stringer/Getty

Born in 1951 in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Celia Weston played the role of Jolene, the sassy and assertive waitress who replaced Diane Ladd as Belle (who replaced Polly Holliday as Flo).

After the Alice cast, Weston went on to have roles in various films, including Flirting with Disaster (1996), Snow Falling on Cedars (1999), and The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999).

She’s also been on many TV series, including American Horror Story (2011), Modern Family (2009), and Hunters (2020).

She most recently was in 2023’s A Little Prayer.

Did you know? Weston began her career on stage, making her Broadway debut in 1979. However, one of her first TV roles was a recurring spot on the ABC daytime soap opera Ryan’s Hope.

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