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Linda Carlson, who played the no-nonsense Vermont TV station manager Bev Dutton on Newhart and a judge on Steven Bochco’s Murder One, has died. She was 76.
Carlson died Oct. 26 in Gaylordsville, Connecticut, after a battle with ALS, her family announced.
On the big screen, Carlson portrayed a nosey neighbor in Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992) and was Aunt Pearl (a variation of Bea Benaderet’s character from the TV show) on The Beverly Hillbillies (1993).
Carlson joined CBS’ Newhart in 1985 for its third season as Dutton, who works at Channel 8, home of the interview program Vermont Today, hosted by local author Dick Loudon (Bob Newhart). She appeared on episodes through the sixth season.
And on ABC’s legal drama Murder One, she portrayed Judge Beth Bornstein for two seasons, from 1995-97.
Carlson was born on May 12, 1945, in Knoxville, Tennessee. She performed in plays at Edina Morningside High School in Minnesota, graduated from the University of Iowa and earned her master’s from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Carlson appeared off-Broadway in the Negro Ensemble Company’s The Harangues in 1969, then made her Broadway debut in 1973 in a revival of Full Circle, directed by Otto Preminger. Meanwhile, she taught acting at NYU to make ends meet.
She came to California to audition for Katharine Hepburn’s role in a TV series remake of The African Queen. Carlson didn’t get the part — Mariette Hartley did — and the show didn’t survive beyond the pilot stage, but she did land a role as a doctor on the 1977 ABC series Westside Medical.
In 1978-79, she played the reporter girlfriend of Ron Leibman‘s convict turned criminal defense attorney on CBS’ short-lived Kaz.
She later showed up on episodes of WKRP in Cincinnati, Lou Grant, Remington Steele, St. Elsewhere, Cagney & Lacey, Clueless, Days of Our Lives, NYPD Blue and Passions.
Carlson funded scholarships at the Village for Children & Families in Hartford, Connecticut, and at the Virginia Avenue Project in Los Angeles, where she also served as a board member and president, her family said.
Survivors include her second husband, James A.V. Hart; siblings Janet and James; and four nieces and nephews. Donations in her name may be made to the Village for Children & Families or the ALS Association.
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