November 28, 1994 12:00 PM

THE Wall Street Journal called it “the funniest show in the history of television,” and America dashed home every weekday night for Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. But the series’ star, Louise Lasser, 55, wasn’t laughing. “No one knew it would take such a toll,” she says.

In 1976, the year before she dropped out of the series, Lasser made headlines after being charged with possessing $6 worth of cocaine. In 1980 she appeared in Stardust Memories, directed by her former husband Woody Allen. That she has never again attained Hartman-esque heights is fine with Lasser. “I could go into anyone’s kitchen in America and have dinner,” she muses. “It was the best and worst of times.”

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