by Michael RichComment — Updated August 3, 2023

Buy Phyllis on DVD

TV Series Premiere Episode

September 8, 1975 – March 13, 1977
(48) one half hour episodes (2 season)
in color on CBS
Created by: Stan Daniels and Ed Weinberger
Produced by: MTM Enterprises


  • Cloris Leachman
  • Lisa Gerritsen
  • Henry Jones
  • Jane Rose
  • Carmine Caridi
  • John Lawlor
  • Judith Lowry
  • Phyllis Lindstrom
  • Bess Lindstrom
  • Judge Jonathan Dexter
  • Audrey Dexter
  • Dan Valenti
  • Leonard Marsh
  • “Mother” Dexter

Theme Music

Composed by: “Dick DeBenedictis”
“Phyllis Theme”

Who makes the fog surrounding the Golden Gate simply disappear?
Phyllis, Phyllis.
Who makes the warning bells on the cable cars play “The Gangs All Here”?
Phyllis, Phyllis.

Who charms the crabs at Fisherman’s Wharf right out of their shells?
Who lights the lamps of Chinatown just by walking in view? … Who?
Phyllis! Phyllis! Phyllis! It sure isn’t you!


Phyllis was the second spin-off of very popular The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Phyllis (Cloris Leachman), who had been Mary Richards’ landlady, leaves Minneapolis after the death of her husband, Lars. She goes to San Francisco with her daughter Bess (Lisa Gerritsen) to live with Lars’ parents Judge Jonathan Dexter (Henry Jones) and his wife Audrey (Jane Rose).

In the first season she worked at a photography studio and learned to deal with the peculiarities of Lars’ family, especially clashing with her step-grandmother, “Mother” Dexter (Judith Lowry). A slip in the ratings led to a reboot for the second season that saw Phyllis now working for city supervisor Dan Valenti (Carmine Caridi). Unfortunately it was also moved to a time slot opposite Little House on the Prairie which was the kiss of death for the series.

Video Clip of Phyllis


Cloris Leachman died in her sleep in 2021, she was 94
Henry Jones died in 1999 of complications from a fall, he was 86
Judith Lowry passed of a heart attack in 1976, she was 861970s old tv

1970s oldies tv

70s retro tv comedy

1970s sitcoms

1970s classic tv

1970s sitcom with Cloris Leachman


Phyllis was one of three spin-offs of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. The other two were Rhoda(1974-78) and Lou Grant (1977-82). Although Rhoda was started a year earlier when Phyllis came out it took a ratings lead beating Rhoda and even the Mary Tyler Moore Show. The producers thinking they had a competition killer on their hands tried moving against Little House on the Prairie oops, Phyllis was canceled at the end of that season.

70s old tv shows

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