Polly Holliday

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Polly Holliday
Polly Holliday Flo.jpg
Holliday in Alice (1976).
BornPolly Dean Holliday
(1937-07-02) July 2, 1937 (age 77)
Jasper, Alabama, U.S.
Years active1973–present
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Polly Holliday
Polly Holliday Flo.jpg
Holliday in Alice (1976).
BornPolly Dean Holliday
(1937-07-02) July 2, 1937 (age 77)
Jasper, Alabama, U.S.
Years active1973–present

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 life[edit]

Holliday was born in Jasper, Alabama, the daughter of Velma Mabell (née Cain) and Ernest Sullivan Holliday, a truck driver.[1] 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.


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.[citation needed]

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.[2]


1974Search for TomorrowPrison Inmate LeaderTV series
1975W.W. and the Dixie DancekingsMrs. Cozzens
1975Silence, TheThe SilenceMrs. WatsonTV movie
1975Catamount Killing, TheThe Catamount KillingMiss Pearson
1975DistanceMrs. Herman
1976All the President's MenDardis's Secretary
1976NBC Special TreatMrs. CronkiteEpisode: "Luke Was There"
1976Bernice Bobs Her HairMrs. HarveyTV movie
1976–1980AliceFlorence Jean 'Flo' Castleberry90 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (1979-80)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1978-80)
1978One and Only, TheThe One and OnlyMrs. Crawford
1979You Can't Take It with YouMiriam KirbyTV movie
1980–1981FloFlorence Jean 'Flo' Castleberry29 episodes
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
1981All the Way HomeAunt HannahTV movie
1982American PlayhouseMrs. WoosterEpisode: "The Shady Hill Kidnapping"
1982Missing Children: A Mother's StoryMary GertrudeTV movie
1982–1983Private BenjaminCapt. Amanda Allen3 episodes
1983Gift of Love: A Christmas Story, TheThe Gift of Love: A Christmas StoryAunt Minerva 'Min'TV movie
1984GremlinsRuby DeagleSaturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
1985Lots of LuckLucilleTV movie
1985Stir CrazyCaptain BettyEpisode: "Pilot"
1985KonradBerti BartolottiTV movie
1986Golden Girls, TheThe Golden GirlsLily LindstromEpisode: "Blind Ambitions"
1986Amazing StoriesElma DinnockEpisode: "The Pumpkin Competition"
1988Equalizer, TheThe EqualizerSister SaraEpisode: "Regrets Only"
1988Moon Over ParadorMidge
1991Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story, AA Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell StoryRuthTV movie
1993Mrs. DoubtfireGloria Chaney
1993–1999Home ImprovementLillian Patterson5 episodes
1995–1996Client, TheThe ClientMomma Love21 episodes
1996Mr. WrongMrs. Alston
1996Loss of Innocence, AA Loss of InnocenceChristina EriksenTV movie
1996Homicide: Life on the StreetMrs. RathEpisode: "The Heart of a Saturday Night"
1998Parent Trap, TheThe Parent TrapMarva Kulp, Sr
2004It Must Be LoveMama BellTV movie
2006Stick ItJudge Westreich
2007Heartbreak Kid, TheThe Heartbreak KidBeryl
2010Fair GameDiane Plame


  1. ^ "Polly Holliday Biography (1937-)". Filmreference.com. 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-17. 
  2. ^ "Alabama Stage and Screen Hall of Fame". theatretusc.com. Retrieved October 29, 2910.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

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