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Lavin Granted Divorce on Grounds of Adultery and Cruelty

July 2, 1992 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ Linda Lavin, star of the television sitcoms ″Alice″ and ″Room for Two,″ was divorced Thursday from actor Clifford ″Kip″ Niven on grounds of adultery and cruelty.

Niven, 47, initially sought some $6 million in money and property from Lavin, 54, to whom he was married seven years.

But a judge said Niven was unsupportive and unfaithful, and contributed nothing financially to the marriage. She ruled Lavin must pay only $675,000.

″We feel triumphant,″ Lavin said. She called the divorce decree ″a just and magnificent decision.″

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Niven, who appeared in the now-closed Broadway show ″Nick & Nora,″ said the case could have been settled and suggested Lavin ″chose to use the public forum″ to embarrass him.

Both were in court but ignored each other.

Lavin, originally from Portland, Maine, met Niven in Los Angeles after divorcing her first husband, actor Ron Liebman. They married Aug. 22, 1982. It was the second marriage for both. Lavin filed for divorce in October 1989.

Lavin claimed during the six-month-long divorce trial, which ended in January, that Niven had several affairs and wasted her money.

She also said Niven constantly criticized her face and body, disparaged her work, undermined her career, humiliated her in public and, during sex, appeared to fantasize about other women.

″He treated me with disgust and contempt,″ Lavin said.

State Supreme Court Justice Phyllis Gangel-Jacob found Lavin earned ″virtually all of the income during the marriage″ - about $14 million, much of it from work she had done before the marriage - while Niven ″contributed little or nothing to the family finances.″

She also found Niven had at least two adulterous affairs and spent Lavin’s money on the women.