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Polly Holliday

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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 lifeEdit

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

CareerEdit

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.

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.

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