Polly Holliday


02/07/1937 (84 years old) Jasper, Alabama

After eking out a modest living as a piano teacher in Alabama and Florida, Polly Holliday switched to acting, spending ten seasons with the Asolo State Theater in Sarasota. In 1973, Holliday headed for New York, where she was cast in Murray Schisgal's Broadway play All Over Town; her director was Dustin Hoffman. All Over Town led to the tiny but pivotal role as a testy secretary in the Dustin Hoffman-Robert Redford feature All the President's Men (1976)--which, in turn, led to Holliday's being cast as wise-cracking waitress Florence Jean "Flo" Castleberry in the TV sitcom Alice (1976-80). Rising to nationwide fame by virtue of her oft-repeated catchphrase "Kiss mah grits!", Holliday earned four Emmy nominations and one Golden Globe Award. In 1980, she was spun off into her own weekly series Flo, which lacked Alice's staying power and was cancelled after a single season. She went on to briefly replace Eileen Brennan on TV's Private Benjamin (1983), and to play Captain Betty in the pilot episode of Stir Crazy (1985). Her film roles of the 1980s included Gremlins (1984), in which she was eminently hissable as Margaret Hamilton clone Mrs. Deagle. Polly Holliday's more recent work has largely been confined to the Broadway stage; in 1989, she received a Tony nomination for her portrayal of Sister Woman in a revival of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.