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Polly Holliday
Born Polly Dean Holliday
July 2, 1937 (1937-07-02) (age 72)
Jasper, Alabama, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1973–present

Polly Dean Holliday (born July 2, 1937; Jasper, Alabama) is an American actress. She has successfully appeared on stage, television and in film. She is best remembered for her portrayal of sassy waitress "Flo" on the 1970s sitcom Alice, and its short-lived spinoff, Flo.

Contents

Biography

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Early life

Prior to acting, Holliday worked as a piano teacher in her native Alabama and then in Florida. She began her acting career as a member of the Asolo Theatre Company in Sarasota, Florida, where she stayed for 10 years.

Career

She became internationally known for her American sitcom role of Florence Jean Castleberry ("Flo") on the television series Alice. Her character coined the popular catch phrase Kiss mah grits!. The phrase became part of the American vocabulary and Holliday later received her own show, entitled Flo. Her notable roles in films include All the President's Men, Mrs. Doubtfire, the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap and particularly her role as Mrs. Ruby Deagle in the 1984 box office smash Gremlins.

In 1973, she moved to New York and appeared in Alice Childress's play Wedding Band at the Public Theatre. More than a year later, she was cast in the Broadway hit All Over Town. While working on All Over Town, she met and befriended actor Dustin Hoffman, who would later work with her on the 1976 movie All the President's Men (Hoffman later tried to get her the job of producing the 1982 film Tootsie[citation needed]).

Soon, she was cast — in what would be her major break — in the role of sassy, man-hungry Flo. While on Alice, she became very popular. After appearing on the show from 1976 to 1980, she moved to her own spin-off show, Flo, in which Flo moved from Arizona back home to Texas. The show was moderately successful during its first abbreviated season, but ratings declined during the following season, and it was ultimately canceled in 1981.

In 1983, Holliday joined the cast of the CBS-TV sitcom Private Benjamin as a temporary replacement for series regular Eileen Brennan, who was recovering from a serious car injury. However, the show was canceled shortly after Holliday was hired and as a result, only one of the two episodes she filmed was telecast.

Holliday also made appearances on television shows such as The Golden Girls, where she played Rose Nylund's blind sister Lily, and in a recurring role as Jill's mother on Home Improvement.

On the Broadway stage, she has appeared in several productions, including revivals of Arsenic and Old Lace (1986) as Martha Brewster, one of the dotty, homicidal, sweet old aunties; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1990), for which she was nominated for a Tony; and Picnic (1994). She also appeared in the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap as the director of Camp Walden. In 2000, she appeared at Lincoln Center in a revival of Arthur Laurents's The Time of the Cuckoo.

In 2000, she was inducted into the Alabama Stage and Screen Hall of Fame.[citation needed]

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