R.I.P. Linda Carlson of Newhart, Kaz and Westside Medical
She worked with Leonard Nimoy on Broadway and played Pearl Bodine of the Beverly Hillbillies on the big screen. She was 76.
The season four premiere of Newhart remains one of the funniest episodes in the series. It's the one where Dick (Bob Newhart) fills in as the host of a children's show after the star, "Pirate Pete," is injured on set. Dick bristles at the commercialism of the kiddie program. The small Vermont station broadcasting the show is run by Bev Dutton, played by Linda Carlson.
Carlson popped up in eight episodes of Newhart, but her career on television stretched several decades. Her earliest roles were arguably her biggest. She was Dr. Janet Cottrell, a lead in Westside Medical, a short-lived medical drama set in a California clinic in 1977. A season later, she was the female lead and love interest on Kaz, a drama about an ex-con turned defense attorney. Her character, Katie, was a newspaper reporter.
Kaz garnered critical acclaim (star Ron Leibman won an acting Emmy) but the series only lasted a season.
Elsewhere, she had memorable guest roles. On WKRP in Cincinnati, she played a former football teammate of Herb Tarlek who underwent a sex change. Later, she had recurring, if minor, roles on Days of Our Lives and Murder One.
She began her career on the stage. Most notably, she co-starred with Leonard Nimoy in Full Circle, directed by Otto Preminger in 1973. You can see photos of them together here.
On the big screen, she portrayed Pearl Bodine, the role originated by Bea Benaderet, in The Beverly Hillbillies (1993).
The actress passed away in her Connecticut home on October 26, according to The Sun. She was 76.