The Hollywood actress Linda Lavin has made a name for herself in all areas of the acting business, from stage to small screen to big screen. She began her career on stage as a child actress and has remained very active in the theater ever since. She received her first nomination for the Tony Award in 1970, after which she ventured completely into acting on the big screen. Lavin got her biggest television role as the lead actress in the hit sitcom Alice from the 1970s/80s, and her performance earned her two Golden Globe Awards and an Emmy nomination. She has continued to work in films, on television, and on stage, and has received numerous awards during her career spanning more than five decades.
Linda Lavin – Bio
Linda Lavin was born in Portland, Maine, on October 15, 1937. Her mother Lucille was a singer, while her father David Lavin was an entrepreneur. Both her maternal and paternal grandparents were Russian immigrants. An early bloomer, Lavin began acting on stage at the age of 5 and later studied at the Herbert Berghof Studio in New York City. Throughout her school years and even while studying at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, she continued to act in theater productions. After graduating from college, she performed with the Compass Players, an entertainment group, in the late 1950s and began appearing in Broadway shows in the 1960s.
Movies and TV Shows
Lavin made her screen debut in the television adaptation of the musical Damn Yankees (1967), but her career only really took off in 1973 when she moved to Hollywood with her then spouse. After playing minor roles in several TV shows and TV movies, the actress got her first regular role in the sitcom Barney Miller (1975-76) with the recurring role of Detective Janice Wentworth.
Because of her brilliant performance in the series, she was cast for the title role in another sitcom Alice (1976-85). Her portrayal of the main character Alice Hyatt during the series’ nine seasons earned her numerous awards and also consolidated her status as an A-list television actress.
After her great success with Alice, Linda Lavin was cast in several telemovies as well as feature films such as The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), I Want to Go Home (1989), and The Ring (1996). She also appeared in the main cast of the sitcom Room for Two (1992-93) alongside Patricia Heaton, and her stage career developed equally successfully.
Since the turn of the century, her career has remained stable, having appeared in films of various genres, including The Back-up Plan (2010), A Short History of Decay (2013), and The Intern alongside Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. Her other films include Manhattan Night (2016), How to Be a Latin Lover (2017), and Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (2019). Linda Lavin also starred in the main cast of sitcoms Sean Saves the World (2013-14) and 9JKL (2017-18). Both were canceled after their respective debut seasons. In 2019, she was given a recurring guest role in the Netflix horror series Santa Clarita Diet, which is headed by Drew Barrymore.
Husband and Family Life of the Actress
Linda Lavin has been married to the musician Steve Bakunas for over a decade. The couple married on Valentine’s Day 2005 and have been inseparable ever since.
Prior to their current union, Lavin was married twice in the past. Her first marriage was to actor Ron Leibman, and her second marriage was to Kip Niven, her co-star in the television series Alice. Both marriages ended in divorce.
Linda Lavin has no biological children, but she is the stepmother of her current husband’s children and her second husband’s children. She plays an equally active role in the lives of her stepchildren’s children.
Linda Lavin’s starring role in the sitcom Alice earned her two consecutive Golden Globe Awards as the best television actress in a musical (1979 and 1980) and another nomination in 1981. Her portrayal of Alice also earned her a nomination for the 1979 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series.
The cult actress also has at least 6 Tony Award nominations for her name. She first won the award in 1987 for her performance in the Broadway production of the semi-autobiographical play Broadway Bound.
Lavin’s role in Broadway Bound also earned her the 1987 Drama Desk Award for outstanding actress in a play. She received her second Drama Desk Award in 2008 for her performance in the play The New Century by Paul Rudnick.
In January 2011 Linda Lavin was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.