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Polly Holliday
Polly Holliday Flo.jpg
Holliday in Alice (1976).
Born Polly Dean Holliday
(1937-07-02) July 2, 1937 (age 77)
Jasper, Alabama, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1973–2010

Polly Dean Holliday (born July 2, 1937) is an Emmy and Tony nominated American actress. She has appeared on stage, television and in film. She is best known for her portrayal of sassy waitress "Flo" on the hit 1970s sitcom Alice, and her starring role in its short-lived spinoff, Flo. Flo's signature line was "Kiss my grits!"

Early life[edit]

Holliday was born in Jasper, Alabama, the daughter of Velma Mabell (née Cain) and Ernest Sullivan Holliday, a truck driver.[1] 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.


In 1976 Holliday became known for her American sitcom role of Florence Jean Castleberry ("Flo") on the television series Alice. Her character coined the popular catchphrase Kiss my grits!. The phrase became part of the American vocabulary and Holliday's popular character of Flo later received a spin-off show, entitled Flo. Her notable roles in films include All the President's Men, Mrs. Doubtfire, the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap and 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 Theater. More than a year later, she was cast in the Broadway hit All Over Town. While working on All Over Town, she befriended the play's director, Dustin Hoffman, who would later work with her on the 1976 movie All the President's Men.

Soon, she was cast — in what would be her major break — in the role of sassy, man-hungry waitress 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 left her residence in Arizona and moved back home. The show was moderately successful during its first abbreviated season, but ratings declined during the following season, and it was 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 suffering low ratings before Holliday arrived and was shortly canceled. As a result, only one of the two episodes she filmed was aired.[citation needed]

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

On the Broadway stage, she has appeared in 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 for her portrayal of "Big Mama"; 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.[2]


Year Title Role Notes
1974 Search for Tomorrow Prison Inmate Leader TV series
1975 W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings Mrs. Cozzens
1975 Silence, TheThe Silence Mrs. Watson TV movie
1975 Catamount Killing, TheThe Catamount Killing Miss Pearson
1975 Distance Mrs. Herman
1976 All the President's Men Dardis's Secretary
1976 NBC Special Treat Mrs. Cronkite Episode: "Luke Was There"
1976 Bernice Bobs Her Hair Mrs. Harvey TV movie
1976–1980 Alice Florence Jean 'Flo' Castleberry 90 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (1979-80)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1978-80)
1978 One and Only, TheThe One and Only Mrs. Crawford
1979 You Can't Take It with You Miriam Kirby TV movie
1980–1981 Flo Florence Jean 'Flo' Castleberry 29 episodes
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
1981 All the Way Home Aunt Hannah TV movie
1982 American Playhouse Mrs. Wooster Episode: "The Shady Hill Kidnapping"
1982 Missing Children: A Mother's Story Mary Gertrude TV movie
1982–1983 Private Benjamin Capt. Amanda Allen 3 episodes
1983 Gift of Love: A Christmas Story, TheThe Gift of Love: A Christmas Story Aunt Minerva 'Min' TV movie
1984 Gremlins Ruby Deagle Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
1985 Lots of Luck Lucille TV movie
1985 Stir Crazy Captain Betty Episode: "Pilot"
1985 Konrad Berti Bartolotti TV movie
1986 Golden Girls, TheThe Golden Girls Lily Lindstrom Episode: "Blind Ambitions"
1986 Amazing Stories Elma Dinnock Episode: "The Pumpkin Competition"
1988 Equalizer, TheThe Equalizer Sister Sara Episode: "Regrets Only"
1988 Moon Over Parador Midge
1991 {{{last}}}, Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell StoryTriumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story {{{last}}} Ruth TV movie
1993 Mrs. Doubtfire Gloria Chaney
1993–1999 Home Improvement Lillian Patterson 5 episodes
1995–1996 Client, TheThe Client Momma Love 21 episodes
1996 Mr. Wrong Mrs. Alston
1996 Loss of Innocence, AA Loss of Innocence Christina Eriksen TV movie
1996 Homicide: Life on the Street Mrs. Rath Episode: "The Heart of a Saturday Night"
1998 Parent Trap, TheThe Parent Trap Marva Kulp, Sr
2004 It Must Be Love Mama Bell TV movie
2006 Stick It Judge Westreich
2007 Heartbreak Kid, TheThe Heartbreak Kid Beryl
2010 Fair Game Diane Plame


  1. ^ "Polly Holliday Biography (1937-)". Filmreference.com. 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-17. 
  2. ^ "Alabama Stage and Screen Hall of Fame". theatretusc.com. Retrieved October 29, 2910.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polly_Holliday — Please support Wikipedia.
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Match Game 77 Episode 1096 (The Microphone Funeral) (with Polly Holliday)

DM BS CNR Polly Holliday RD FF.

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The witty Flo (Polly Holliday) from Alice with one of her great lines!

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Deleted scene from the 1993 movie I OWN NOTHING.

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Purchase Flo: The Complete Series here: http://bit.ly/HGrKVI Polly Holliday gives an Emmy-nominated performance as TV's sassiest barkeep in this laugh-out-loud funny spinoff of Alice. On the...

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118 news items

Bay Net

Bay Net
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 12:52:30 -0700

He later played opposite Polly Holliday in the Alice spin-off Flo (1980-81). Lewis worked frequently with actor-director Clint Eastwood in several films including Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Pink Cadillac, Any Which Way You Can, Bronco ...

Spencer Daily Reporter

Spencer Daily Reporter
Fri, 10 Apr 2015 16:16:35 -0700

It featured Art Carney as Grandpa, along with Jean Stapleton, Beth Howland, Blythe Danner, Robert Mandan, Barry Bostwick, Kenneth Mars, Howard Hesseman and Polly Holliday. A second television adaptation was produced in 1984 by Public Broadcasting ...

Daily Review

Daily Review
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 01:03:45 -0700

... Girls, but they're five must-sees, according to Flanders. Beware: some include language which may be NSFW. 1. This is what happens when a John Waters character escapes into the real world and collides with fantastic character actress Polly Holliday.


Wed, 18 Mar 2015 20:56:15 -0700

The cast of the sitcom "Alice" (from left): Flo (Polly Holliday), Mel (Vic Tayback), Alice (Linda Lavin) and Vera (Beth Howland). On HBO's Extras, Ricky Gervais played an unsuccessful actor who became an overnight sensation when his fumbling TV ...

TV Media Insights

TV Media Insights
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 03:07:30 -0700

There were two sitcom debuts. The first was “Flo” in 1980, a spin-off from “Alice,” featuring Polly Holliday. It aired just over one season – through June 30, 1981. And “Alice” was never the same without her (and with Diane Ladd as new waitress Belle ...
Thu, 06 May 2004 21:10:09 -0700

Asolo artistic director Howard Millman said in statement, "It's a homecoming of sorts for Polly Holliday and John Krich, who performed at the Asolo in the early years. We are proud and happy to also welcome back two fine actors who are graduates of the ...

TV Media Insights

TV Media Insights
Tue, 24 Feb 2015 02:28:08 -0800

In 1980, Polly Holliday bid adieu to the gang on “Alice” as sassy Florence Jean Castleberry headed to Texas for her short-lived spin-off, “Flo.” Her departure stemmed from the reported animosity between she and “Alice” star Linda Lavin, who felt the ...

TV Media Insights

TV Media Insights
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 06:30:00 -0700

There were two sitcom debuts. The first was “Flo” in 1980, a spin-off from “Alice,” featuring Polly Holliday. It aired just over one season – through June 30, 1981. Kiss my grits! More recent was NBC's “The Office” with Steve Carell in 2005, which was ...

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