Linda Carlson, ‘Newhart’ Actress, Dies at 76

Linda Carlson, who is best known for her turns on TV shows like Newhart and Murder One, has died. After a battle with ALS, her family announced that she had passed away in Gaylordsville, Connecticut. She was 76.

The actress joined CBS’ Newhart in 1985 while it was amidst its third season, starring as Bev Dutton, a no-nonsense Vermont TV station manager. She reprised her role through the sixth season of the Emmy-nominated TV series. On ABC’s legal drama Murder One, Carlson played Judge Beth Bornstein for two seasons. She joined the show in 1995 and continued on through 1997.

In film, Carlson is known for her role as a noisy neighbor in Honey, I Blew Up the Kid and starring as Aunt Pearl (Bea Benaderet’s character in the TV show) in the 1993 version of The Beverly Hillbillies.

Carlson was born on May 12, 1945, in Knoxville, Tennessee. She performed in plays throughout high school, eventually graduating from University of Iowa and earning her master’s from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Carlson made a quick turn to off-broadway acting, starring in The Harangues in 1969. She made her Broadway debut in 1973 in a revival of Full Circle, teaching acting at NYU.

She auditioned for Katharine Hepburn’s role in a TV series remake of The African Queen that eventually went to Mariette Hartley. Thankfully, she landed on a show that actually made it past the pilot stage, Westside Medical, in 1977. From 1978-79, she played the reporter girlfriend of Ron Leibman of the CBS’ drama Kaz.

Carlson also landed roles in WKRP in CincinnatiLou GrantRemington SteeleSt. ElsewhereCagney & LaceyCluelessDays of Our LivesNYPD Blue and Passions.

She is survived by her second husband, James A.V. Hart; siblings Janet and James; and four nieces and nephews. Donations in her name can be made to the Village for Children & Families or the ALS Association.