Whatever Happened to…

Alice | Mel’s Diner Kiss My Grits! | Warner Bros. Entertainment

Alice is an American sitcom television series that aired on CBS from August 31, 1976, to March 19, 1985. The series is based on the 1974 film Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. The show stars Linda Lavin in the title role, a widow who moves with her young son to start life over again, and finds a job working at a roadside diner in Phoenix, Arizona. Most of the episodes revolve around events at Mel’s Diner, where Alice is employed.

Alice Spivak Hyatt (Lavin) is an unemployed widow after her husband Donald is killed in a trucking accident, and with her young son Tommy (played by Alfred Lutter in the television pilot, reprising his role from the film, but portrayed by Philip McKeon thereafter) heads from their New Jersey home to Los Angeles to pursue a singing career.

Her car breaks down in Phoenix (from a presumed engine fire, as seen in the opening credits), and we meet her soon after she has taken a job as a waitress at Mel’s Diner, in Phoenix. (The later seasons’ exterior shots were of a real diner, named Mel’s, still in operation in Phoenix).

Alice works alongside Mel Sharples (Vic Tayback), the grouchy, stingy owner and cook of the greasy spoon, and fellow waitresses and friends, sassy, man-hungry Florence Jean “Flo” Castleberry (Polly Holliday), and neurotic, scatterbrained Vera Louise Gorman (Beth Howland).

Where Happened to Some of the Cast?

Vera is now deceased. Her real name: Beth Howland, who had been a smoker since she was a teenager until she finally quit in the early 2000s, died of lung cancer on December 31, 2015, at age 76. Per her request, her death was not reported to the media until May 24, 2016, four days before what would have been her 77th birthday.

Mel Sharples: Vic Tayback died of a heart attack at the age of 60 in Glendale, California on May 25, 1990 He is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills).

Philip Anthony McKeon son of Linda Lavin whom role was Alice on Alice/Mel’s Diner died in Texas on December 10, 2019, after a long illness. He was 55 years old.

Marvin Kaplan is probably best known for his recurring role on the sitcom Alice where he portrayed a phone lineman named Henry Beesmeyer who frequented Mel’s diner. He was with the cast from 1977 until the series ended in 1985. In addition, the actor was the voice of Choo-Choo on the cartoon series Top Cat (1961–62).

Duane R. Campbell(Duane R. Campbell as Chuck (diner regular) (1978–1985). Campbell was born on June 28, 1941. He was an actor, known for Alice (1976), Palmerstown, U.S.A. (1980) and Bret Maverick (1981). He died on January 20, 2011 in Anthony, New Mexico, USA.

2 thoughts on “Whatever Happened to…

  1. I looked up Linda Lavin in Wikipedia. I’m glad to learn that she is still with us, and that she is still working steadily. She has had a great career.

  2. Good deal! What a history she has. I loved her in Damn Yankees. So many people have died that it’s hard to backtrack.

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