Charles Kimbrough is the husband of late actress, Elizabeth “Beth” Howland. His stage and television actress wife, passed at the age of 74 on Dec. 31, 2015, in Santa Monica, Calif.
Charles Kimbrough, also an actor, announced the sad news on Tuesday and said she died of lung cancer. According to the NY Times, he had refrained from announcing her death earlier in keeping with her wishes.
Charles Kimbrough’s wife was best known for giving life to the ditsy, accident-prone waitress Vera Louise Gorman on the 1970s and ’80s sitcom “Alice.”
Beth got her big break in a Carol Burnett Broadway musical Once Upon a Mattress. The only daughter of a Roman Catholic marriage, she showed an interest for acting and dancing at a young age. She left her home at 16 to follow her acting dreams.
The Boston Massachusetts native, began her professional career in New York as a Broadway actress and performed in such musical hits as “Company” and “Bye Bye, Birdie.” Her transition over to television came in 1970 when she was invited for an audition for an upcoming guest role on a “Mary Tyler Moore” episode. Landing the part and a subsequent second appearance, prompted Beth to move from New York to California and pursue more work in television acting roles. That helped establish her name in Hollywood and lead the path to the future “Alice” series.
From November 6, 1961, to 1969, she was married to character actor Michael J. Pollard, with whom she has a daughter named Holly.
After her marriage ended, she and Holly packed up and moved to California, where Beth, after doing her stint on “Mary Tyler Moore,” landed roles in other shows, such as “Cannon,” “Little House on the Prairie,” and Bronk.” In 1976 the call came for actors to audition for the new television series, “Alice.”
Other work includes appearances on TV shows such as: “Sabrina, The Teenage Witch,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Chicken Soup For The Soul,” and “The Tick.”
Beth raised her daughter as a single parent. She used to say that se was absorbed by work and her daughter so she didn’t have time to date.
Beth and Charles Kimbrough were in a long time relationship until they became husband and wife in 2002. The couple collaborated together in the original Broadway cast of Stephen Sondheim’s Company.
Charles Kimbrough was born May 23, 1936 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Kimbrough is highly experienced in stage and is also known for his role on Candice Bergen’s long running television series Murphy Brown –for which he earned a nomination for an Emmy® Award in 1990 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
Like Beth, Charles was previously married. He tied the knot to first wife, Mary Jane with whom he became a father to only son, John Kimbrough, a musician.
Charles along with his first wife, were part of the resident company of the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre where they appeared in such plays as Feydeau’s “Cat Among the Pigeons” and Jules Feiffer’s “The White House Murder Case.” In 1971, he was nominated for a Tony for best featured actor in a musical as Harry in Stephen Sondheim’s Company –where ironically, he met Beth Howland.
Leaving Milwaukee for good in 1972, he spent the rest of the decade playing character roles in various theatres in Washington, New Haven, and New York, and appearing in several films (The Front 1976, The Seduction of Joe Tynan 1979). He did not do another musical until his award-nominated portrayal of Jules and Bob Greenberg in Sunday in the Park With George in 1984.
Following the 10-year-run on Murphy Brown, Charles Kimbrough took on new projects, notably voicing for animated films for younger audiences: his is the voice of Victor, the senior gargoyle in the Disney cartoon feature The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) and its sequel (2002), and of Mort Chalk inRecess: School’s Out (2001).
Charles Kimbrough returned to Broadway in April 2009 in Samson Raphaelson’s Accent On Youth, playing the role of Flogdell, the distinguished butler employed by playwright Stephen Gaye, played by David Hyde Pierce.
We send our condolences to Beth Howland’s husband, Charles Kimbrough; her daughter, Holly and the rest of her family and friends.
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