Linda Lavin '59 joins Theater Hall of Fame

William & Mary alumna and renowned actress Linda Lavin ’59 was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame during a ceremony in New York City’s Gershwin Theatre on Jan. 24.

Linda LavinThe other inductees included Brian Dennehy, Fritz Weaver, Michael Blakemore, Caryl Churchill, Paul Gemignani, James Lapine and, posthumously, Joseph Chaikin.

According to a Playbill.com article, nominees for the hall of fame must have at least five major credits and 25 years in Broadway theatre.

A native of Portland, Maine, Lavin was a theatre major at William & Mary. After graduating from the College in 1959, she headed to New York, and started her career as a singer in clubs and Off-Broadway shows.

Lavin has performed in a broad range of productions on Broadway, including dramas, musicals, and comedies. In 1987, she received the Tony, Helen Hayes, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for Neil Simon’s “Broadway Bound.” She won Tony nominations for her work in “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife.”

After many guest roles on several TV series, Lavin took on her most famous role as single mother Alice Hyatt on the successful comedy “Alice,” which ran for nine years on CBS (1976-1985). She sang the theme song on the show, and won two Best Actress Golden Globe awards for her performance.

In 1984, William & Mary recognized Lavin with the Alumni Medallion. That same year she also served as the grand marshal for the Homecoming Parade. In 2008, Lavin returned to Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall to perform her one-woman concert, “Songs and Confessions of a One-Time Waitress,” on the same stage where she once starred in “Romeo and Juliet.” In 2009, she received an honorary degree from the College at the Commencement ceremony. Last year, she returned to William & Mary once more to hold a master class for the college’s theatre students.