Linda Lavin (born in Portland, Maine on October 15, 1937) is a Jewish-American singer and actress of stage, film, and television.
Born to musically-talented parents, Linda Lavin has been onstage since the age of 5. Upon her graduation from the College of William and Mary she left for New York, and by the early 1960s Lavin made a name for herself on Broadway and appeared on the (both 1966) cast recordings of The Mad Show (on which her performance of Stephen Sondheim's "The Boy From..." gained note) and "It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman" (from which one of her numbers, "You've Got Possibilities," was the album's best-received song). In 1967, Lavin made her first film appearance as Gloria Thorpe in a version of the musical Damn Yankees. In 1969, Lavin married actor Ron Leibman, and by 1973 the couple had arrived in Hollywood.
After various guest appearances (The Nurses, Rhoda, Harry O, Kaz), Lavin appeared as a regular throughout the first and second seasons of Barney Miller. She left Barney Miller to star in her own show, a CBS sitcom based upon the Martin Scorsese-directed Ellen Burstyn cinematic vehicle Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Lavin portrayed the Burstyn role of Alice Hyatt in Alice from 1976 to 1985. The theme song, "New Girl in Town," was always sung by Lavin, though the song was updated for each of the first six seasons. Throughout the series' nine seasons Lavin earned two Golden Globe awards and an Emmy nomination, as well as a great deal of experience directing, especially during the later seasons.
Throughout her Alice years, Lavin was at one time the highest-paid actress on television. She made numerous television appearances outside of her sitcom, including hosting her own holiday special, Linda in Wonderland.
In 1981, Lavin and husband Liebman divorced. In 1982, Lavin married Kip Niven and helped raise Niven's two children, Jim and Kate. They divorced in 1991.
Lavin has continued with steady and successful work in theater, film, telefilms, and more. She directed the 1990 telefilm Flour Babies, appeared specially in PBS's Collected Stories, directed for the theater, acted in two sitcoms (1992's Room for Two and 1998's Conrad Bloom), and made numerous television guest appearances (including roles on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The O.C., Touched by an Angel and HBO's The Sopranos).
In 1997, Lavin founded The Linda Lavin Arts Foundation in Wilmington, North Carolina, and lives in both Wilmington and New York City. She teaches master classes in acting and singing for the stage in Wilmington and at New York University. When in Wilmington, she often directs for the stage. One of her directorial credits there is an innovative 1998 production of William Shakespeare's As You Like It performed in a Brazilian jazz style.