Lisa Gerritsen

Active - 1970 - 1974  |   Born - Dec 21, 1957   |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Nathan Southern

Actress Lisa Gerritsen embarked on a dramatic career for a very brief albeit memorable period of time -- from around 1969 (at the age of 12) to 1978 (at the age of 21), when she finally hung up her acting gloves and moved out of the spotlight. The world first took notice of Gerritsen when she signed for a role in the short-lived NBC sitcom My World and Welcome to It (1969-1970). Loosely adapted from the writings of humorist James Thurber, the program starred William Windom (She's Having a Baby) as John Monroe -- a husband and father of one who worked as a writer and cartoonist, suffered from an enormous sense of insecurity, and lived in his daydreams. Gerritsen co-starred as Lydia Monroe, John's preteen daughter. Unfortunately, despite a cover article in TV Guide circa 1969 and an abortive attempt by CBS to revive the series in 1972, it never connected with a substantial audience.

Several months after a big-screen debut as a terrified airline passenger in the star-studded epic Airport (1970), Gerritsen then cropped up in another regular supporting role on a series, this time on the still-influential sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show. On that program, she played Bess Lindstrom, the teenage daughter of Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman), the landlady of Mary Richards' (Moore) building. The series as a whole ran until 1977, but five years in, producer Grant Tinker decided to spin off the characters of Phyllis and Bess into their own sitcom, simply and elegantly titled Phyllis; as a result, Leachman and Gerritsen promptly left the program to head up the new show. The premise of that outing (which debuted in 1975 and ran for two years) had Phyllis and Bess moving to San Francisco following the sudden death of husband and father Lars, where Phyllis took a job in a commercial photography studio.

Phyllis represented Gerritsen's last major acting role, and thereafter, she moved into an unrelated field. Her resumé also includes guest appearances on such programs as Gunsmoke, The Odd Couple, and Bonanza.

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