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Vicki Lawrence Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (87) | Personal Quotes (18)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 26 March 1949Inglewood, California, USA
Birth NameVicki Ann Axelrad
Nickname Mama
Height 5' 6½" (1.69 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Famed actress, comedian, singer, and dancer Vicki Lawrence has appeared in television shows, on Broadway and in nightclubs. Her career included shows with such popular actors as Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, and Tim Conway. Born in Inglewood, CA, Vicki Lawrence's interest in singing and dancing began at an early age. During high school, she was a cheerleader and voted Most Likely to Succeed by her class. From 1965 to 1967, Lawrence sang with the Young Americans musical group and appeared in The Young Americans, a film that won an Academy Award for Best Documentary.

Vicki Lawrence sealed her own fate as a famed actress and comedian by sending Carol Burnett a newspaper clipping showing their uncanny resemblance to each other and if she could give some advice for a contest she was in called "Miss Fireball Contest" in California. Burnett having a feeling about her found her phone number and called Vicki..Burnett attended the event hoping to find an entertainer who could play her kid sister on her variety show. Sure enough, Lawrence was chosen as the kid sister and was mentor by Ms Burnett and her career blossomed from there. In the fall of 1967, she made her debut on the first episode of The Carol Burnett Show. She spent 11 years with the show and earned one Emmy Award and five more nominations. In 1967, she also enrolled in UCLA to study theater arts. To enhance her singing career, she went to Vietnam to perform for U.S. troops with Johnny Grant.

Her music career peaked in 1973, when she was awarded a gold record for her internationally known hit "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia." In 1974, Lawrence married CBS makeup artist Al Schultz, with whom she has had two children. When The Carol Burnett Show ended, Vicki Lawrence starred in her own comedy show, Mama's Family, which also featured Dorothy Lyman, Ken Berry, Beverly Archer, and Betty White; Carol Burnett also frequently appeared on the show. After ending her sitcom, Lawrence delved into hosting television shows.

She became the first successful female game show host when she hosted Win, Lose or Draw; she also hosted her own talk show, appropriately titled Vicki!, which ran from 1992-1994. Vicki Lawrence's credits cannot be limited to television alone. Her stage credits include Carousel, Hello Dolly, Annie Get Your Gun, No, No, Nanette and My Fat Friend. In the '90s, she performed in I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road. Her autobiography, Vicki! The True Life Adventures of Miss Fireball, recounts her musical, stage, and television career. She spends most of her time doing motivational speeches for women's groups and charities.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (2)

Al Schultz (16 November 1974 - present) (2 children)
Bobby Russell (29 June 1972 - 1974) (divorced)

Trade Mark (2)

Her character Mama
Her resemblance to Carol Burnett.

Trivia (87)

Her recording of then husband Bobby Russell's song "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia" was number one on Billboard magazine's Hot 100 chart for two weeks in April of 1973, reached the Top 40 of Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart, and earned a Gold Record.
Her former husband, Bobby Russell, wrote the popular tunes, "Little Green Apples" and Bobby Goldsboro's "Honey."
Daughter, Courtney Allison Schultz, born May 5th, 1975 Son, Garrett Lawrence Schultz, born July 3rd, 1977
Hit #1 in Australia in 1973, with "He Did With Me", written by Harry Lloyd and Gloria Sklerov.
She is a huge game show fan and guest-starred on many game shows including The (New) $25,000 Pyramid (1973), Super Password (1984), and Match Game 73 (1973). She also hosted the daytime edition of Win, Lose or Draw (1987) for NBC and on her TV show Mama's Family (1983), Mama was a contestant on Jeopardy! (1984) She did a salute to game shows and their hosts on her talk show Vicki! (1992).
She is the older sister of make-up artist, Joni Lawrence.
With the exception of Eric Brown (Buzz), Karin Argoud (Sonja), and Allan Kayser (Bubba), she was the youngest of the regularly-appearing actress and if counting the grand kids she was the 4th youngest, overall, in the cast of Mama's Family (1983), even though the character she played was the oldest. Ken Berry (Vinton), Dorothy Lyman (Naomi), Beverly Archer (Iola), Rue McClanahan (Aunt Fran), Betty White (Ellen), Carol Burnett (Eunice), late actor, Harvey Korman (Ed), were all older.
While a member of the singing group The Young Americans, a journalist reviewing a concert mentioned Lawrence's resemblance to Carol Burnett. Students at her high school also mentioned her resemblance to the comedian. Lawrence wrote Burnett a fan letter at her mother urging saying she would like to meet her someday and sent her clippings of the contest she was in. A pregnant Burnett had a feeling about her, decided to look up Lawrence's Father's number and called Vicki asking to attend her contest of The Miss Fireball Contest in which Lawrence was appearing in, which Lawrence won and crowned by Burnett. After a small conversation Burnett told her they will stay in touch and would discuss Lawrence career. Months later Lawrence was subsequently hired to play Burnett's kid sister in The Carol Burnett Show (1967) and became Carol Burnett protégée.
Still dresses up as Mama when performing to this day.
Was good friends with Dick Clark, Allen Ludden, Bert Convy, and Bill Cullen.
Was discovered at the age of 17 by Mentor and Comedian Carol Burnett and became her protégée.
Her acting mentors were Comedians Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman.
Is very close friends with Actress Bette White.
Is best friends and very close to her mentor Carol Burnett.
Was good friends with actress Rue McClanahan, Barbara Billingsley, Phyllis Diller, and Dorothy Van.
Cites Mentor Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman as her biggest influences in her career.
Attended UCLA while she was on The Carol Burnett Show (1967). But was forced to drop out because of missing classes due to her work on the TV show.
Comedian Actress Jane Lynch cites her as one of her idols.
Was Valedictorian of her high School Class.
She was a Cheerleader in high School and was voted the most likely to Succeed.
Is an avid Animal Lover and donates to number of animal charities.
Her and Carol Burnett often get mistaken for sisters because of their close resemblance.
Was extremely shy as a kid and even up to the beginning of her career. Carol Burnett stated this many times and most recently always shows a clip of this during Q&A period on reunion shows, when during the first season, when Vicki was so nervous getting asked questions that she was almost buried into Carol.
Has appeared in numerous productions, including "Send Me No Flowers;" "No, No Nanette;" "My Fat Friend;" "Chapter Two;" "Annie Get Your Gun," and, live from the Grand Ole Opry, "Nunsense 3: The Jamboree," which aired on TNN. Most recently she appeared in "The Vagina Monologues.".
She travels all over the country speaking to charity groups about her life and career, women's health. Her efforts to protect women's rights were recognized in 1988 when she was the first woman to be honored as "Person of the Year" by the Coalition of Labor Union Women. Recently Lawrence was invited to join The Board of Trustees for Miller Children's Hospital at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, one of only eight children's hospitals in the state. She also hosts the annual Walk for the Cure in her hometown, where all the proceeds go to breast and ovarian cancer research at Long Beach Memorial Center.
Carol Burnett surprised her with Gold record for The Night the Light Goes Out in Georgia on the last show of the sixth Season on The Carol Burnett Show (1967).
Carol Burnett was originally suppose to play Mama in The Family Sketches on The Carol Burnett Show (1967), but Carol felt more connected to Eunice and wanted her protégée Vicki to play Mama. The role would become Vicki's most iconic character and her trademark.
She was considered the baby of the family on The Carol Burnett Show (1967), She was 21 years younger than Harvey Korman, She was 16 years younger than Carol Burnett and Tim Conway and she was 14 years younger than Lyle Waggoner.
Very good friends with Comedian and Co-Star Tim Conway.
After ending of The Carol Burnett Show (1967) Vicki moved to Hawaii. She lived across the street from her best friend and Mentor Carol Burnett who moved to Hawaii shortly after Vicki did. Vicki moved back to California first because of boredom and Carol also moved back to California shortly after Vicki did. Actor Jim Nabors was also a neighbor.
Harvey Korman taught her to do the accents on The Carol Burnett Show (1967) because he was the master of them.
Mentor Carol Burnett was known to bring the writers on set of her show if she felt they did not give Vicki enough funny lines. Vicki recalled that one time Carol did this and ask the writers to come down to give Vicki more funny lines and Vicki asked her "I do?" And Carol responded, "Hush Now yes you do." Carol also helped make a Emmy show for her and Vicki won a Emmy for it in 1976. This coined the term when Vicki said on her own TV Show in 1990s in response to Robert Wagner if she had someone who influence her and Vicki said "we all know who took me under her wing.".
Mentor Carol Burnett gave her a Trip to Hawaii as a wedding gift, when she married husband Al Schultz in 1974.
Is good friends with game show host Alex Trebek, Tom Kennedy and actor Ken Berry.
Was good friends with actor/comedian Bob Hope, she often toured with him during his USO tours.
Hobbies include cooking and Sailing. During The Carol Burnett Show (1967) she used to be a big at knitting.
Has said that actress Yvonne De Carlo was her childhood television heroine.
During the first couple seasons of The Carol Burnett Show (1967) admitted that she idolize and looked up to Carol Burnett so much, even stating that she had Carol on a Pedestal that she could barely say two words to her at first. She still admires Carol Burnett.
The late Actress Yvonne De Carlo cited Vicki as her favorite actress.
Is a fan of Comedians Tina Frey and Amy Poehler.
For several decades, she was an active Republican who supported the unsuccessful presidential campaign of Elizabeth Dole. Prior to the 2000 Presidential Election she switched from Republican to Democrat and endorsed Al Gore. From 2004 onward, she has donated much of her time and money to many liberal political causes and is an honorary member of the Democratic National Committee.
Known mostly for her Mama character and being Carol Burnett comedic partner.
Appeared many times with friend and actress Betty White on many games shows, both ladies were big game players. She also appeared many times with her mentor Carol Burnett including on super password when they both dress up as Mama and Eunice.
Has said that meeting her mentor Carol Burnett to be the best moment of her life.
In the beginning of The Carol Burnett Show (1967) Vicki Lawrence would mostly do the Carol and Sis sketches and a few musical numbers because of her inexperience, when she felt that she was ready, she finally ask her mentor Carol Burnett if she could do other things when she started branching out into other sketches.
Executive Producer Joe Hamilton of The Carol Burnett Show (1967) offered Vicki a spin off show of the popular The Family Sketches after the eighth season, but she turned it down as she was not sure she wanted to play an old lady every week and she did not want to leave her mentors Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman. Carol Burnett was said to have been happy about this. Vicki did not agree to do a spin off of The Family until 1983 when her mentor Carol Burnett talked her into doing it.
Her mentor Carol Burnett told her do summer stock in between seasons of The Carol Burnett Show (1967) so it could give her more acting experience.
She has guest starred five times in the classic TV Show Laverne & Shirley (1976) as Sergeant Plout and guest starred six times as Mawma in Hannah Montana (2006). She guest star on Yes, Dear (2000) with her friend Tim Conway.
Made Appearances in Laverne & Shirley (1976), The Love Boat (1977), Murder, She Wrote (1984), Roseanne (1988), Major Dad (1989), Diagnosis Murder (1993), Yes, Dear (2000), and Hannah Montana (2006).
In 2012 reunion of The Carol Burnett Show (1967) successfully copied her mentor Carol Burnett famous Tarzan Yell.
Took dance classes growing up, she was the most trained dancer on The Carol Burnett Show (1967) than the other cast members.
Is a dog lover and has multiple dogs as pets.
In a All-Star Party for Carol Burnett (1982) she copied her Mentor Carol Burnett breakout song I Made a Fool of Myself over John Foster Dulles that Carol first performed on The Jack Paar Tonight Show (1957) in 1957.
She still hangs out with her Mentor Carol Burnett.
Big Fan of the soap opera All My Children (1970).
Fan of Modern Family (2009), The Good Wife (2009), and Mad Men (2007).
Goes around the country doing her two women show where she does the first half as herself and the second half as Mama.
Took part in honoring and paying tribute to her Mentor Carol Burnett in the 1982 All-Star Party for Carol Burnett (1982) and in 2013 when honoring Carol for her Mark Twain Prize.
She was planning on becoming a dental hygienist before being discovered by Carol Burnett.
Her being mentored by Comedian Carol Burnett is in The Mentor Hall of Fame in 2013.
She lives with her husband Al Schultz in Long Beach, California.
She wrote lyrics to the Mama's Family (1983) theme song "Bless My Happy Home," though the producers chose to use an instrumental version over the credits instead.
She had a total of three singles which made the billboards Hot 100 US charts from 1973-1975.
Her mentor Carol Burnett guest starred on her own talk show in the 1990s more than any other celebrity with at least five appearances. Friend and Actress Betty White appeared four times.
She sang a duet in the early 1990s with Country singer Reba McEntire on Vicki's hit song The Night the Lights went out in Georgia.
She performed for troops in Vietnam and was a Pin up girl for the service men.
She ranked #70 on VH1's Top 100 One-Hit Wonders for her song The Night the Lights go out in Georgia.
Comedian Carol Burnett took her under her wing since she was age 17, their friendship has lasted for over 40 years so far.
As of 2013 her net worth is estimated to be $8 million.
Sang with the Young Americans musical group from 1965 to 1967. When she got discovered by Comedian Carol Burnett, the director pulled her over telling her this is shot in a dark and if she leaves the group she can't come back and that he will not hold her spot if things don't work out, Vicki decided to take the chance and left the group to starred in the acclaimed show The Carol Burnett Show (1967), which Vicki will receive Emmy for.
Met her husband Al Schultz when he was hired to be the head make-up artist in the early 1970s on The Carol Burnett Show (1967). But they did start going together romantically until 1974, Vicki has stated that they fell in love when the show were filming in Sydney, Australia.
Is a yacht-racing enthusiast.
Was in a relationship with Singer and Actor Bobby Sherman in 1969.
She is member of The Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Actors' Equity Association.
Her song The Night the lights go out in Georgia reached number 11 overall for the year 1973.
Never minded being in her mentor Carol Burnett's shadow.
A couple of months after her first meeting with Comedian Carol Burnett, Lawrence heard that Carol gave birth to her second Daughter Jody. Being brave she thought that she would try to go to the hospital, to give Carol flowers and try to see her. Using Burnett's married name Hamilton, the nurses at the hospital mistook Vicki as Carol's Sister and excitedly escorted Vicki to Carol's room. Where most celebrities might consider this pushy (which Lawrence even jokes about today) Carol Burnett was very amused by this and loved this gesture that she told Vicki that she didn't forget her and that she will get in touch once she gets back in shape and sure enough Vicki got a call to auditions months later.
After The Carol Burnett Show (1967) Vicki was not doing much beside guest appearances and game shows and even thought of retiring, this did not sit well with her Mentor Carol Burnett that Burnett commission to do a TV movie 'Eunice (TV movie 1982)' (That would also star Harvey Korman, Ken Berry, and Betty White) after it was filmed, Carol Burnett invited some of the cast to her house for viewing of the movie, using this film after the credits rolled. Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman and Carol's Husband jump on Vicki to do Mama's Family (1983). Carol eventually sat Vicki down and told her "You really have to do this" this lead to Vicki finally agreeing to do the show and the creation to the successful spin off sitcom Mama's Family (1983) was created.
Comedian Carol Burnett wrote an endorsement for her album The Night The Lights went out in Georgia.
Is a registered democrat.
Her children, Courtney and Garret, used to hang around Carol Burnett and would often go to her house especially when living in Hawaii.
Cites her mentor Carol Burnett and actress Betty White as her idols.
Is good friends with Actress Angie Dickinson.
Can play the piano.
Carol Burnett often referred to Vicki by the nickname Wicks and Wicki.
Her children call close friend and mentor Carol Burnett Aunt Carol.

Personal Quotes (18)

Everybody loves that character (Mama). I can go out on the streets and people will ask me 'Where's mama?' like if she's suppose to be with me.
Life is much too serious to be taken seriously.
[Who talked about her work with her idol, Carol Burnett]: Carol grew up on live television so that's the way we shot that show. We literally did two shows and you could set your clock by the schedule. It would take us an hour and a half to tape an hour show. There's no way that would happen nowadays. We stopped only for major costume changes or major set changes. You know, we used to tackle some pretty spectacular huge pieces. We'd get through those tapings and we rarely did pick-ups. For Carol, it was all about that audience. Keeping that audience happy, that 250-person audience that was in our studio. I think that's why everybody still watches that show and loves it so much because it was like being there live. It was really incredibly well-done. You look back at the staff, the costumes and the writing...it was just an incredible team.
[on comedy that has been changed over the years]: We were sort of left to our own devices back then doing a live show. Now, you'd have eight gazillion suits down there telling us what to do. Telling you what you can and can't say...everything is so politically correct now. I think comedy has gotten cynical and dark. Sexual. It's hard to find for the kids those great old shows that you can sit and watch together. Where you can laugh at totally mindless shit like I did when I was young...like Green Acres or Lucy. Those shows are sort of timeless.
[When asked if she was going back to do her Mama character in 2010, the character she created for 40 years]: No, I certainly did not. Mama was actually written for Carol as a one-time character with a guest star playing Eunice. But Eunice was the character that spoke to Carol, so she wanted to play Eunice and told the writers she wanted me to play Mama. Carol also chose to make the characters southern. The writers were worried that we would offend people in the south, but people saw themselves and people they knew in those characters and identified with them. We got so much positive feedback instead.
I always tell people I went to the Harvard School of Comedy in front of America. It's something that would not happen today. Look at American Idol, where you have people voting you on or off. There are a lot of talented people out there, but there are also a lot of people who are incredibly untalented and all they did, as far as I can tell, is appear in InStyle magazine. I feel like I got to learn and grow with the masters, plus The Carol Burnett Show was a very nurturing environment, which doesn't always happen in show business, even then. People working on the show were forever warning me about what it was going to be like when I got out into the real world.
[Of Carol Burnett, who got her to play Mama]: She was written by two wonderful writers on The Carol Burnett Show. I think it was an homage to their mothers. They both hated their mothers, and they decided they had to get her on paper. They wrote the character for Carol. But when Carol saw the sketch, she felt that Eunice spoke to her and that's the character she wanted to play, which devastated the writers. Then she decided she wanted me to do Mama, which really devastated the writers. Then she decided she wanted to do it Southern, which just completely threw them for a loop. They were appalled, they were upset, they felt we had ruined their sketch. The writers got up and walked out the first time they saw it. But it just got such great feedback from the fans.
[on being in her mentor Carol Burnett shadow] A lot of people think I'm in Carol's Shadow. Well, I can't think of a nicer shadow to be in
[on her "Mama's family" co-star Rue McClanahan]Oh my God! Nuts! She was just meticulous about her craft. I remember her driving the prop guy nuts, because the props, they couldn't just be props, they had to be the actual thing. She had to really work with the actual thing, so he had to get everything right from Monday morning. It had to be right, and he used to drive her crazy. But she was just so meticulous, so deep into that character, and again I think like a really good actress who is a comedienne to be able to skate on that line like Harvey Korman.
I didn't plan on going into show business. Show business picked me. And it's been fun. One of the best things about being in show business is people think they know me, and they feel like they grew up with me.
[on Co Star Tim Conway] Tim Conway was a little different from the rest. He was always in the back of the studio building something with the prop man, rewriting his lines, or plotting our demise.
[on Carol Burnett and The Family] They couldn't write them fast enough, Carol loved those characters so much. I would say they were her favorite characters she ever played on The Carol Burnett Show.
[About her mentor Carol Burnett] I remember distinctly when Tim got written into 'The Family' sketches as Mickey Hart. Carol took us all aside and said, 'Now listen to me. You know how much I love these characters. You know how important they are to me. I really don't want to break the fourth wall, so let's try to be consummate actors, and let's get through this. I don't care what Tim does. Let's try to be professional.' Of course, just like in the 'elephant story,' who's the first person that falls apart? It's Carol.
[on how Mama was not written for her originally] I was not in the original [planned "Family" sketch]. There was no place for me. The sketch was lovingly written for Carol. She was to play Mama, and the writers had planned on a guest star playing Eunice. It was a one-time-only, one shot. They hated their mothers. They wrote this dysfunctional family as a tribute to their dysfunctional lives, and Carol read the sketch before we ever went to a table read, and said "I want to play Eunice. That's the part that speaks to me." That was very upsetting to the writers. Then she said "I think Vicki should play Mama." Very upsetting to the writers. Then we got to rehearsals and said "I want to do it Southern." She said "It's Tennessee Williams gone nuts, we've got to do it Southern!.
[when she was discovered by mentor Carol Burnett] I was going to be cleaning teeth somewhere, and I guess she changed that.
[on how she was able to study under her Mentor Carol Burnett] It was surreal: I got to go to Harvard School of Comedy in front of America, People look back at The Carol Burnett Show (1967) and see that we all grew up together. She (Carol) was just so nurturing and encouraged everyone to fly. That feeling permeated through the screen and the audience was part of it, too.
[on her Mentor and friend Carol Burnett] There are a lot of big egos in this business, but that's not Carol's Trip.
[In a 2014 Heart Diease awareness interview about her Mentor Carol Burnett] For me, it was - I was very lucky. Carol found me and took me under her wing. I grew up in an incredibly nurturing environment. It's not something I ever intended to do; here I landed in the Emerald City. I got to go to the Harvard School of Comedy in front of America.

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