An American actress and singer. She is known for playing the title character in the sitcom Alice and she is also known for her stage performances, both on and Off-Broadway. After acting as a child, Lavin joined the Compass Players in the late 1950s. She began acting on Broadway in the 1960s, earning notice in It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman in 1966 and receiving her first Tony Award nomination in Last of the Red Hot Lovers in 1970.
She moved to Hollywood in 1973 and began to work on television, making recurring appearances on the sitcom Barney Miller before getting the title role on the hit comedy Alice, which ran from 1976 to 1985. She appeared in many telefilms and later she appeared in other TV works. She has also played roles in several feature films. In 1987, she returned to Broadway, starring in Broadway Bound (winning a Tony Award), Gypsy (1990), The Sisters Rosensweig (1993), The Diary of Anne Frank (1997–1998) and The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife (2000–2001), among others. In 2010, she appeared as Ruth Steiner in Collected Stories, garnering her fifth Tony nomination. She starred in NBC’s short-lived sitcom, Sean Saves the World as Lorna and the CBS sitcom 9JKL.