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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 17 February 1907Melbourne, Australia
Date of Death 13 January 1979Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
Birth NameMarjorie Florence Lawrence

Mini Bio (1)

Marjorie Lawrence was a soprano, famed for her interpretation of Richard Wgner's operatic heroines, and equally comfortable performing within the mezzo range. During her teens she won a number of vocal competitions, eventually studying in Paris and making her onstage debut in Monte Carlo in 1932 as Elisabeth in Wagner's Tannhauser. In the following year she won critical praise in Paris for her performance in the demanding role of Ortrud in Lohengrin. Her appearance in New York's Metropolitan Opera production of Gotterdammerung in 1936, became legendary in operatic history as it marked the first time the heroine had exited offstage into the flames astride a horse - as Wagner had originally intended. Lawrence was extremely versatile, assuming the roles of Tosca, Alceste, Carmen and Salome in various productions. In the latter, she sang in a new German translation and astonished everyone by dramatically discarding all seven veils on cue.

In 1941, while performing in Mexico City she was struck with poliomyelitis, surviving the disease by becoming confined to a wheelchair for several years. Fortunately, although hampered by her lack of mobility, her voice was not affected by the disease. and in 1942 was able to perform a concert at Lauritz Melchior's invitation. A year later she appeared at the Met as Venus in Tannhauser, a role chosen especially as it is perhaps the only operatic role that can be sung by a performer who need neither stand nor walk.

Lawrence became famous during World War II for trips abroad to entertain allied troops in both European and Asian combat zones. In 1946 she was awarded the French Legion d'Honneur for these activities, and thirty years later was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her services to the performing arts.

Following a 1946 Paris performance as Amneris in Verdi's Aida, she retired from the stage and taught international operatic students in Hot Springs, Arkansas until her death.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tom Shorthouse

Spouse (1)

Thomas King (29 March 1941 - 13 January 1979) (her death)

Trivia (1)

She was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1977 Queen's New Years Honours List for her services to the Performing Arts.

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