Her husband, actor Charles Kimbrough, tells The Associated Press that Howland died of lung cancer in Santa Monica, California, on Dec. 31. He says there was no funeral or memorial service and "that was her choice."
Howland played naive diner waitress Vera Louise Gorman on "Alice" for the nine-year run of the comedy that ended in 1985, earning four Golden Globe nominations. Her credits also include parts on the "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," and "The Love Boat."
Howland is also survived by a daughter from her previous marriage to actor Michael J. Pollard.