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Phyllis Lindstrom

Phyllis Lindstrom, portrayed by Cloris Leachman, is a fictional character on the television sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show and subsequent spin-off, Phyllis.

Phyllis Lindstrom
Ted Baxter for councilman 1974.JPG
Phyllis talks Ted into running for local office.
First appearance "Love Is All Around"
September 19, 1970
Last appearance "The Last Show"
March 19, 1977
Created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns
Portrayed by Cloris Leachman
Gender Female
Occupation Assistant at Erskine Photography Studio
Administrative Assistant to San Francisco City Supervisor
Spouse(s) Lars Lindstrom (deceased)
Children Bess Lindstrom

The Mary Tyler Moore ShowEdit

Phyllis Lindstrom is the snobbish, acid-tongued wife of dermatologist Dr. Lars Lindstrom, who is often referenced but never seen by the audience. The Lindstroms managed the apartment building that is a Victorian boarding house in which Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mary and Rhoda developed a close relationship with Phyllis' daughter, Bess.

Throughout the series, Rhoda and Phyllis maintained an adversarial but talkative relationship. Phyllis understandably despised Sue Ann Nivens, who hosted The Happy Homemaker on WJM-TV, after Sue Ann had an affair with Phyllis's husband, Lars.[citation needed]


Audrey and Phyllis in the premiere episode of Phyllis

In 1975, Leachman left The Mary Tyler Moore Show to star in its spin-off series, Phyllis. The series takes place in San Francisco, Phyllis's hometown, where Phyllis and Bess relocated after the death of Lars.

Phyllis first worked at Erskine Photography Studio then later as an administrative assistant for a city supervisor. While there, she and Bess lived with Lars' mother, Audrey, and Audrey's new husband, Judge Jonathan Dexter. Phyllis's major nemesis by this time was Jonathan's mother, Sally, a sharp-tongued, irritable, impatient woman known to all as "Mother Dexter" (played by veteran actress Judith Lowry). Despite her animosity towards Phyllis and indifference to Audrey, Mother Dexter got along well with Bess and also with Mary Richards when Mary made a visit to San Francisco at Phyllis' behest when the latter was having a particularly difficult time.

Interestingly, Lars was also the name of Cloris Leachman's husband-to-be on the 1962 Laramie episode titled "Trial by Fire".[1]