Best known by the public for her lead role in Alice (1976-1985), Linda Lavin is an American actress and singer who is currently married to Steve Bakunas, an artist and musician. Prior to her union in 2005 with Steve, Linda was married and divorced twice to actors Ron Leibman and Kip Niven.
Away from her relationships and career, Linda is a longtime philanthropist who is committed to rehabilitating impoverished neighborhoods and homes. She is also an activist who lends her voice to raising awareness for women’s equality.
Linda Lavin Had Given Up On Love Before She Met Steve Bakunas
Linda Lavin married her first husband, Ron Leibman in 1969. At that time, Ron was also an American actor popularly known for his Tony Award-winning performance in Angels in America (1993).
Linda’s marriage to Leibman survived a little over a decade before the pair decided to go separate ways. As a result, Leibman quickly remarried actress Jessica Walter in 1982.
That same year Lavin married actor Kip Niven whom she met on the set of Alice (1976-1985). Unfortunately, Lavin’s marriage with Kip turned into a disaster. After what she would describe as 7 agonizing years, during which Lavin endured unbearable emotional abuse at her second husband’s hands, she sued for divorce on the grounds of cruelty and adultery. Their divorce was finalized in 1992.
Meanwhile, both Niven and her Leibman, her first husband coincidentally passed away in 2019.
After her first and second marriages came to an end in divorce, The American actress committed to remain single for the rest of her life. But a few years later, after she moved to Wilmington and started to renovate houses in disadvantaged areas, she met Steve Bakunas, the man she would eventually fall in love with.
Regarding how they met, a mutual friend of hers and Steve hinted to her that Steve just moved into the neighborhood and also gave her his contact. For nearly a week, they spoke on the phone back and forth before they met physically during the 2002 run of the Broadway play Hollywood Arms.
The entertainers obviously grew fond of each other and decided to walk down the aisle in 2005. They further established a residence in Wilmington, North Carolina, and they converted a garage into the Red Barn Theatre they co-run.
Other Interesting Facts About Linda Lavin
1. She Began Her Entertainment Career at the age of 5
Linda Lavin was born on October 15, 1937, in Portland, Maine. She has been on stage since she was five years old, and her family was also musically gifted.
She later studied acting at HB Studio in New York City and also attended Waynflete School before enrolling in the College of William & Mary. While at William and Mary, she performed with the William and Mary Theater in many productions.
Lavin joined the Compass Players in the late 1950s following her performances in her early years. She debuted on Broadway in the 1960s, garnering attention for her performance.
Moving on, Linda was nominated for her first Tony Award for Last of the Red Hot Lovers in 1970 and for It’s Superman in 1966. In 1973, she relocated to Hollywood and started working in television. Some of her early TV credits are in Rhoda (1974), Harry O (1975), and Barney Miller (1975-1976).
2. She has no Biological Children of Her Own
Lavin has been married three times, but she doesn’t have any biological kids. Nevertheless, she is the stepmother of her second husband’s children and actively participates in both their lives and the lives of her grandkids.
3. Lavin gives back to her society
Linda and her husband Steve are dedicated members of the Wilmington community who worked together to revitalize underprivileged neighborhoods by remodeling numerous homes, donating a park to the city, and founding the Red Barn Studio, a community theater.
Meanwhile, to develop the performing and visual arts, with a focus on arts in education, Lavin established The Linda Lavin Arts Foundation in Wilmington in 1997. Her foundation has created a theatre program called Girl Friends, whose purpose is to raise the self-esteem of at-risk teenage girls in the inner city.
4. She is Still Performing at 86
Warner Bros. released Alice more than 40 years ago, and Lavin is still a compelling performer at 86 just as she was in her thirties. Linda is continuing to advance her profession in entertainment while being as active and lively as ever. Her most recent on-screen appearances were in Bob’s Burgers (2023) and Bring the Ricardos (2021).
5. Linda has a Noteworthy Career Record
For her work in Broadway Bound in 1987, Linda won a Tony Award as well as Drama Desk, Outer Critics, and Helen Hayes Awards. Also, for her roles in The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, Collected Stories, and The Lyons, she has been nominated for six Tony Awards.
Furthermore, for playing Alice on the 9-year successful CBS television series Alice she was nominated twice for a Golden Globe.
The actress was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 2011.