Hollywood actress Linda Lavin has made her mark in every sphere of the acting business from the stage to the small screen as well as the big screen. She began her career on stage as a child actress and has remained very active in the theatre ever since. She received her first Tony Award nomination in 1970 after which she ventured fully into screen acting. Lavin landed her biggest television role as the lead star of the hit 1970s/80s sitcom Alice and her performance earned her two Golden Globe Awards and one Emmy nomination. She has continued to work in films, on television, and on stage and has won numerous accolades in her over 5-decade career.
Linda Lavin – Bio
Linda Lavin was born on the 15th day of October back in 1937 in Portland, Maine. Her mother Lucille was a songstress while her father David Lavin was an entrepreneur. Both her maternal and paternal grandparents were Russian immigrants. As an early bloomer, Lavin began acting on stage at the age of 5 and she later studied at the Herbert Berghof Studio in New York City. She continued featuring in theatre productions all through high school and even while studying at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. After graduating from college, she performed with the Compass Players, an entertainment troupe in the late 1950s and she 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 did not properly take off until 1973 when she relocated to Hollywood with her spouse at the time. After playing minor roles in several TV shows and made-for-TV movies, the actress landed her first regular role on the sitcom Barney Miller (1975-76) starring as the recurring character Detective Janice Wentworth.
Owing to her brilliant performance on the show, she was cast to play the titular role on another sitcom Alice (1976–85). Her portrayal of the lead character Alice Hyatt during the 9-season run of the show earned her numerous accolades and also cemented her status as an A-list TV actress.
Following her profound success on Alice, Linda Lavin was cast in several telefilms as well as feature films like The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), I Want to Go Home (1989) and The Ring (1996). She was also on the main cast of the sitcom Room for Two (1992-93) alongside Patricia Heaton and her stage career equally continued to prosper.
Her career has remained steady since the turn of the century as she has starred in movies of diverse genres including The Back-up Plan (2010), A Short History of Decay (2013) and The Intern alongside Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. Other film credits she has include Manhattan Night (2016), How to Be a Latin Lover (2017) and Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (2019). Linda Lavin was also on the main cast of the sitcoms Sean Saves the World (2013-14) and 9JKL (2017-18). However, they were both canceled after their respective debut seasons. In 2019, she landed a recurring guest role on the Netflix horror series Santa Clarita Diet which is headlined by Drew Barrymore.
Husband and Family Life of the Actress
Linda Lavin has been married for over a decade to Steve Bakunas, a musician. The couple got married on Valentine’s day of 2005 and have remained inseparable ever since.
Prior to her present union, Lavin had been married twice in the past. Her first marriage was to actor Ron Leibman and her second marriage was to Kip Niven, her costar on the TV show Alice. Both marriages ended in divorce.
Linda Lavin has no biological children, however, she is the stepmother of the children of her current husband and those of her second husband. She equally plays an active role in the lives of her stepchildren’s children.
Linda Lavin’s lead role in the sitcom Alice earned her two consecutive Golden Globe Awards for Best TV Actress in a Musical (1979 and 1980) in addition to one more nomination in 1981. Her performance on Alice equally earned her a nomination for the 1979 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
The iconic actress also has at least 6 Tony Award nominations to her name. She won the award for the first time 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 clinched her second Drama Desk Award in 2008 for her performance in the Paul Rudnick play The New Century.
In January 2011, Linda Lavin got inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.