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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–present

Polly Dean Holliday (born July 2, 1937) is an 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 Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story, AA Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story 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]

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117 news items

The State Journal-Register
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:41:15 -0800

Page 2 of 3 - People you probably forgot were in this: Polly Holliday (Flo on “Alice”), Judge Reinhold (“Beverly Hills Cop”) and Corey Feldman (“The Lost Boys”). Wait, wasn't that … Yup. That's Tom Bergeron (“America's Funniest Home Videos) in a tiny ...
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 ...
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 19:02:20 -0700

Polly Holliday as Flo, the waitress in Mel's Diner. Having that phase available has kept me from embarrassing myself more than once in my life. Heck, more than once every day! #You think we're going back a ways? Heck, fire! People are still screaming ...
Hollywood Reporter
Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:06:19 -0700

David G.B. Brown, who wrote episodes of Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Max Headroom and Hunter, died Sept. 6 in Los Angeles, his family announced. He was 67. Brown also penned a 1981 episode of Flo, the short-lived Alice spinoff that starred Polly Holliday ...

NBC Southern California

NBC Southern California
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 18:24:16 -0700

Joe Dante's much-revisited cackle-a-thon is all of those things, and, moreover, it features the incomparable charms of Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, and Polly Holliday. Mr. Galligan will, in fact, make an appearance at the Oct. 11 Victory Park screening ...

San Francisco Examiner

San Francisco Examiner
Thu, 07 Aug 2014 00:18:45 -0700

Trans fiction: Filmmaker Leslie L. Smith shares his new book, “Sally Field Can Play the Transsexual: Or I Was Cursed by Polly Holliday.” [7:30 p.m., Books Inc., 2275 Market St., S.F.]. At the public library. Science workshop: Aquarium of the Bay leads ...
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Wed, 02 Jul 2014 07:03:14 -0700

... former President of Mexico Vincente Fox Quesada, who was born in 1942; “Home Improvement” actress Polly Holliday, who was born in 1937; New York City-born “Mean Girls” actress Lindsay Lohan, who was born in 1986; “The Fitzpatricks” actor Jimmy ...
The News Journal
Tue, 01 Jul 2014 13:11:52 -0700

Actress Polly Holliday ("Alice") is 77. Writer-director Larry David is 67. Keyboardist Roy Bittan of the E Street Band is 65. Model-actress Jerry Hall is 58. Actor Jimmy McNichol is 53. Bassist Dave Parsons of Bush is 49. Actress Yancy Butler ...

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