The TV series ALICE was based on the movie of a similar name, ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE, produced in 1974 and directed by Martin Scorsese. The movie, like the series, originally consisted of Alice, Tommy, Flo, Vera and Mel. Mel was played by Vic Tayback in both, and Diane Ladd played the part of Flo in the movie but went on to play the part of Belle in the series. Alfred Lutter played the part of Tommy in the movie and the pilot episode of the series. His role was then taken over by Philip McKeon in subsequent shows. Brief appearances were also made by Jodie Foster, who played the part of Tommy's friend, as well as Laura Dern, who's nonspeaking part included eating ice cream at the Diner's counter.
On the movie set with Martin Scorsese, Diane Ladd,
Valerie Curtin, Ellen Burstyn and Vic Tayback
Ellen Burstyn stars as Alice, an unhappy housewife living in New Mexico with her cruel husband, Donald (Billy Green Bush) and her obnoxious son, Tommy (Alfred Lutter). When her husband dies suddenly in a trucking accident, she packs up her belongings and heads for California where she hopes she will realize her dream of being a singer. On her way, she has a brief fling with the vicious Harvey Keitel but has to flee when she encounters his violent temper. Her car breaks down in Arizona and she has to work in a Tuscon diner, where she befriends Flo (Diane Ladd), a fellow waitress, and embarks on an uneasy courtship with a local rancher (Kris Kristofferson).
Ellen Burstyn (as Alice)
Ellen Burstyn was born Enda Rae Gillooly on December 7, 1932 in Detroit, Michigan, and raised by Irish-American parents who divorced while she was still young. As a youth in school, she enjoyed and excelled in the arts, particularly dance, cheerleading and modelling. Ellen's first marriage, at age 18 to William Alexander, a poet, left her feeling dissatisfied, and after five years, the marriage ended in divorce. It was then that she began her serious acting career. She began work as a chorus dancer in a Montreal nightclub in 1955, and as one of the 16 "Gleason Girls" on "The Jackie Gleason Show." Several years later, she was granted the lead in the Broadway play, "Fair Game." As her fame grew in the years that followed, she was requested for many gigs in Hollywood and making appearances with Ben Casey and Perry Mason. In 1960, she married Neil Burstyn, whose name she later adopted as her stage name. Their marriage produced one son, Jeff, but ended in divorce ten years later.
The early '70's produced some of her greatest work, including "The Exorcist," and "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore." She was nominated for Best Actress in "The Exorcist," and went on to win Best Actress for her role as Alice. The late 1970's and early '80's also saw her receive Oscar nominations for her roles in "Same Time, Next Year," and "Resurrection."
Ellen has acted tirelessly over the years since that time. In 2000, she found herself in the role of an overweight, overlonely woman addicted to diet pills in "Requiem for a Dream." This role, she admits, was her best work ever. Not surprisingly, she was honored by the National Board of Review with a career achievement award in January 2001.
Alfred Lutter (as Tommy)
Alfred Lutter was born March 26, 1962, in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Though his acting career is not extensive, he is best remembered for his role as the original Tommy Hyatt, a part played in both "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" (1974) and "Alice" (pilot episode, 1976). His other acting credits include "Love and Death" (1975), "It Must Be Love, Caus' I Feel So Dumb" (1975), "The Bad News Bears" (1976), and "The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training" (1977).
Lutter ultimately left acting to pursue a career in technology. He graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor's degree in engineering, followed later with a master's degree in management and engineering. In 1985 Lutter founded Omnisoft, Inc., a developer of proprietary applications for the radio industry. In 1989 he founded Lutter Consulting, a developer of mission-critical information systems for several Fortune 100 companies. Currently he serves as CEO of NetChemistry, based in Irvine California, and teaches courses in Java and Oracle at the University of California. He is married and is a father of a young daughter.
Valerie Curtin (as Vera)
Valerie is both an actress and screenwriter. Born March 31, 1945, she began her acting career on stage in New York, but her first film debut occurred in "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" as the dim-witted waitress, Vera. Though her supporting roles have been numerous, it is her script writing talent for which she is best known throughout Hollywood, often teaming up with husband and fellow co-writer, Barry Levinson. The pair wrote several screenplays, including "...And Justice for All" (1979), for which they received an Oscar nomination, as well as "Inside Moves" (1980), "Best Friends" (1982), "Unfaithfully Yours" (1984) and "Toys" (1992). For television, she wrote an episode of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," as well as a writer for the short-lived soap opera, "Good & Evil." In 1982, she also co-created "Square Pegs", a popular series focusing on teens. In recent years, she has made acting appearances on "Becker," (1998), and "The District," (2000), playing Judge Audrey Lasher. Valerie is the daughter of radio actor Joseph Curtin and cousin to actress Jane Curtin.
Diane Ladd (as Flo)
For more about Diane, go to the ALICE Cast section.
Vic Tayback (as Mel)
For more about Vic, go to the ALICE Cast section.