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So many 70s TV sitcom stars were drawn from Broadway musicals

Beatrice Arthur ("Maude"): "Mame," "The 3Penny Opera"

Florence Henderson ("The Brady Bunch"): "Fanny"

Jean Stapleton ("All in the Family"): "Bells Are Ringing," "Funny Girl"

Hal Linden (Barney Miller): "The Rothschilds"

Bonnie Franklin ("One Day at a Time"): "Applause"

Linda Lavin ("Alice"): "It's Bird, It's a Plane, It's... Superman"

Why? And why did that mostly stop?

by Anonymousreply 31June 28, 2022 12:53 AM

Oh don’t you forget Beth Howland!!

by Anonymousreply 1June 17, 2022 7:57 PM


by Anonymousreply 2June 17, 2022 8:06 PM

I believe Ralph Carter, who played Michael on "Good Times," was discovered while in the Broadway cast of the musical "Raisin."

by Anonymousreply 3June 17, 2022 8:27 PM

Charles Kimborough

by Anonymousreply 4June 17, 2022 8:41 PM

Nancy Dussault : Bajour!

by Anonymousreply 5June 17, 2022 8:51 PM

What about Lani O Grady???

by Anonymousreply 6June 17, 2022 10:53 PM

Betty Buckley!!!

by Anonymousreply 7June 17, 2022 11:36 PM

Because stage actors can rarely tone it down for TV. You don't need to shout every line, Bea.

by Anonymousreply 8June 18, 2022 12:11 AM

It was simply how Norman Lear did much of his casting. He saw a million plays, and often times he saw someone he felt he could build a show around.

Ever wonder why we met George Jefferson's brother Henry a year before we met George? Because Lear had seen Sherman Hemsley in Purlie on Broadway. He wanted to cast him as George Jefferson, but had to wait out his contract for a whole year. So, they got another actor to play his brother to take all George's lines until Sherman was ready.

by Anonymousreply 9June 18, 2022 12:22 AM

Um. DUH.

by Anonymousreply 10June 18, 2022 12:24 AM

Umm…Tom Bosley as Fiorello!

by Anonymousreply 11June 18, 2022 12:28 AM

BEANIE!!! soon! DL soon!

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by Anonymousreply 12June 18, 2022 12:30 AM

When we still had NYC soaps there were a lot of Broadway actors on them as well.

by Anonymousreply 13June 18, 2022 12:57 AM

[quote] Why? And why did that mostly stop?

Bonnie Franklin slapped one too many network execs.

by Anonymousreply 14June 18, 2022 1:09 AM


Robert Guillaume (Guys and Dolls, Phantom of the Opera, Purlie, Cyrano...) James Noble (1776...) Inga Swenson (110 in the Shade, Camelot, Baker Street...) Rene Auberjonois (City of Angels, Big River, Coco, Dance of the Vampires...) Ethan Phillips (My Favorite Year and other plays, but few musicals) Lewis J. Stadlen (Minnie's Boys, Candide, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Producers...)

by Anonymousreply 15June 19, 2022 9:16 PM

Some of those shows were after "Benson."

by Anonymousreply 16June 19, 2022 9:19 PM

Florence Henderson was also in The Sound Of Music after Mary Martin, and Song Of Norway.

Don't forget Dick Van Dyke - star of Bye Bye Birdie.

The Lear shows were on videotape before "live audiences" and they didn't constantly stop and start and laugh about it, like today - when gaffes become part of the entertainment. I imagine people like Norman Lear wanted talent who could perform a show before an audience like Broadway performers - and of course, these people were good.

by Anonymousreply 17June 19, 2022 9:24 PM

[quote] Why? And why did that mostly stop?

Because looks didn’t matter as much then.

by Anonymousreply 18June 19, 2022 9:34 PM

[quote]Why? And why did that mostly stop?

Because people like Linda Lavin and Bonnie Franklin never should have been in musicals in the first place.

by Anonymousreply 19June 19, 2022 10:29 PM

[quote]Charles Kimborough

and wife Beth Howland.

by Anonymousreply 20June 20, 2022 12:57 AM

Can I bend the criteria a bit?

John Cullum, although his sitcom success didn’t come until the 90s.

by Anonymousreply 21June 20, 2022 1:51 PM

Back in the day, Ed Sullivan and variety shows frequently featured Broadway stars performing so it provided them with great exposure. Show tunes were also played on top 40 stations. People were much more inclined to have at least heard of stage performers or knew their work so it was easier to get hired for TV work.

by Anonymousreply 22June 20, 2022 3:14 PM

Didn't Jean Stapleton have a fair amount of Broadway experience?

by Anonymousreply 23June 20, 2022 3:16 PM

Yes, Jean Stapleton had about five Broadway shows before All in the Family. Most of her roles in musicals were a step above chorus, although her most high profile role was Sue, the owner of the answering service in Bells Are Ringing.

Actors like Stapleton no longer exist. Broadway no longer writes roles for those characters and when they revive an old chestnut, they use hams like Jayne Houdyshell, who chew the scenery to be noticed rather than be noticed because they are good in the role.

by Anonymousreply 24June 20, 2022 3:31 PM

[quote]Sue, the owner of the answering service in Bells Are Ringing.


by Anonymousreply 25June 20, 2022 4:01 PM

Valerie Bertinelli said she wanted to try Broadway before she dies.

by Anonymousreply 26June 22, 2022 4:51 PM

Chita RIvera was featured in the 2nd Dick Van Dyke tv show.

Bill Macy of "Maude" was naked in "Oh! Calcutta!"

Charles Nelson Reilly was on "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" before his long stint on "Match Game"

Edward Mulhare was the replacement Henry Higgins in Broadway's "My Fair Lady" before starring in 'The Ghost and Mrs. Muir", and featured actress Reta Shaw had been in "The Pajama Game" on Broadway.

by Anonymousreply 27June 22, 2022 4:58 PM

Tv networks tried to do sitcoms for a number of Broadway people, including Ethel Merman, Tammy Grimes, Janis Paige and Shirley MacLaine, but they didn't last long.

by Anonymousreply 28June 22, 2022 5:01 PM

Stockard Channing although her sitcoms were early 80s.

Charlotte Rae

by Anonymousreply 29June 22, 2022 5:04 PM

Who, r20?

by Anonymousreply 30June 27, 2022 11:46 PM

Mrs. Walton, Michael Learned

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by Anonymousreply 31June 28, 2022 12:53 AM
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