Beth Howland, who played the accident-prone waitress Vera Gorman on the ’70s and ’80s sitcom Alice, has died at the age of 74.
Howland died on Dec. 31, 2015, in Santa Monica, California, after a battle with lung cancer, husband Charles Kimbrough told the New York Times, noting that his wife did not want a memorial or funeral service.
“It was the Boston side of her personality coming out,” Kimbrough said. “She didn’t want to make a fuss.”
He echoed the statement to the Associated Press, telling the news outlet that having no announcement or funeral was Howland’s choice.
Although Howland was best-known for her portrayal as the high-anxiety, sometimes ditzy waitress, she also had small roles on The Love Boat, Little House on the Prairie, Murder, She Wrote, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch along with a Broadway role alongside Dick Van Dyke in Bye Bye Birdie.
She earned four Golden Globe nominations during Alice‘s nine-year run from 1976–85.
Howland told the AP in 1979 that she and Vera shared some character traits: “I’m a little naïve sometimes but not as much as Vera. I guess I’m really a cynic.”
Howland leaves behind her husband along with a daughter from her previous marriage to actor Michael J. Pollard.