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Victoria Ann "Vicki" Lawrence (born March 26, 1949), sometimes credited as Vicki Lawrence
Vicki Lawrence
Schultz, is an American actress, comedian, and pop music singer known for the many characters she originated on CBS's The Carol Burnett
Carol Burnett
Show, where she appeared from 1967-78, for the entire series run. One such character was "The Family" matriarch Thelma Harper/Mama, the cold, unaffectionate mother of the neurotic, misfortunate, bedraggled Eunice (Burnett), despite the fact that Lawrence is 16 years younger than Burnett. Thelma Harper
Thelma Harper
was the central character of the television situation comedy series Mama's Family on NBC
NBC
and, later, in first-run syndication. In 1973, she became a one-hit wonder on the U.S. chart with "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia". It reached number one on both the United States and Canada top charts. Lawrence has multiple Emmy Award nominations, winning one in 1976.[citation needed] She is also a multiple Golden Globe nominee, all for The Carol Burnett Show. Lawrence has made numerous post- Mama's Family
Mama's Family
guest TV show appearances in her famed Thelma Harper/Mama role. On February 5, 2013, Lawrence appeared as the character in a special sketch for Betty White's 2nd Annual 90th Birthday.[1] In addition, she regularly hosts an untelevised stage show, titled Vicki Lawrence
Vicki Lawrence
& Mama: A Two-Woman Show.

Contents

1 Early life 2 Career

2.1 Acting 2.2 Music 2.3 Hosting and other work

3 Personal life 4 Filmography 5 Discography

5.1 Albums 5.2 Singles

6 Books 7 References 8 External links

Early life[edit] Lawrence was born Victoria Ann Axelrad in Inglewood, California,[2] the daughter of Anne Alene (née Loyd) and Howard Axelrad, a certified public accountant for Max Factor.[3] The family surname was legally changed to "Lawrence" when Vicki was young.[4] She is a graduate of Morningside High School in Inglewood, class of 1967. Lawrence had originally planned on being a dental hygienist. She attended UCLA while on The Carol Burnett
Carol Burnett
Show, and changed her major to theater arts, but dropped out after two years.[4] In high school, she auditioned for and got into the musical group The Young Americans. She stayed with the group almost until the end of high school. By being with the group, she gained experience from touring, performing at the Oscars, coming in contact with noteworthy performers such as Johnny Mathis
Johnny Mathis
and Louis Armstrong, and performing on The Andy Williams Show.[4] In her senior year, she entered the Miss Fireball of Inglewood contest for the local firefighter's ball. A reporter for a local newspaper wrote a story about the contest and stated that Lawrence bore a striking resemblance to a young Carol Burnett. An avid fan letter-writer, Lawrence's mother urged her to write a letter, which Lawrence did, including the newspaper article. After receiving the letter, Burnett found Lawrence's father's name in the phone book, called her, and said she would go to see the Miss Fireball contest. Lawrence won the contest and Burnett was called to the stage to crown her. Coincidentally, Burnett was looking for an actress to play her younger sister on her upcoming show. After a few months and auditions, Lawrence got the part, specifically for playing Chrissy in the "Carol and Sis" sketches.[4] After being given the job on The Carol Burnett
Carol Burnett
Show, both Burnett and Harvey Korman
Harvey Korman
took Lawrence under their wings. Korman taught her various sketch comedy skills, such as listening not just for a cue line, and also coached her in other areas, such as speaking in different accents. Lawrence has credited Korman and Burnett with being her mentors, and has referred to her experience on the show as the " Harvard
Harvard
school of comedy". Lawrence has stated that she learned show business from Burnett and looked up to her very much and that the two share a very close friendship.[4] Career[edit] Acting[edit]

On The Carol Burnett
Carol Burnett
Show, L-R: Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, and Dinah Shore
Dinah Shore
in the sketch "Went with the Wind!", 1977.

Vicki Lawrence
Vicki Lawrence
as Thelma "Mama" Harper, 2009

As a comedian and actress, Lawrence is known for her work on The Carol Burnett Show, of which she was a part from 1967 to 1978. She was the only cast member, except for Burnett herself, who stayed on the show for the entire 11 seasons. After The Carol Burnett Show
The Carol Burnett Show
ended in 1978, Lawrence and her husband Al Schultz moved with their children to Maui, Hawaii, but after a few years, returned to Los Angeles, where they have remained. Her portrayal of the Mama character on The Carol Burnett
Carol Burnett
Show's "The Family" sketches was so popular that NBC
NBC
subsequently created the sitcom Mama's Family, elaborating on the Mama character. (Burnett reprised the Eunice Higgins character for the sitcom from time to time.) The series ran from 1983 to 1985 on NBC; after its cancellation from NBC, it was renewed from 1986 to 1990 in first-run syndication. The show was more successful in the renewed version. She also reprised the Mama character on stage for Vicki Lawrence
Vicki Lawrence
& Mama: A Two-Woman Show. Lawrence has made appearances on other programs, such as the sitcoms Laverne & Shirley, Major Dad, Roseanne, Hannah Montana, and Yes, Dear. Between the NBC
NBC
and syndication runs of Mama's Family, Lawrence starred in the 1985 comedy pilot Anything for Love, which aired as a special on CBS
CBS
that summer and co-starred Lauren Tewes
Lauren Tewes
and Rebeca Arthur. Lawrence has also appeared with Burnett, Korman, and Tim Conway in the Burnett show retrospectives that were broadcast in 1993, 2001, and 2004. Lawrence played Sister Mary Paul (Sister Amnesia) in the TV special based on Nunsense Jamboree that originally aired on TNN in 1998. Lawrence played Mamaw Stewart (the mother of Robby Ray Stewart
Robby Ray Stewart
and grandmother of Jackson and Miley Stewart) in the hit Disney
Disney
series Hannah Montana
Hannah Montana
alongside Billy Ray Cyrus
Billy Ray Cyrus
and his daughter Miley Cyrus. Lawrence recently played as Mama in an Ohio commercial, promoting a constitutional amendment that would permit casino gambling in Ohio. Lawrence played Dan's old high-school flame, Phyllis, in an episode of Roseanne. She also appeared in a special celebrity-edition episode of the Anne Robinson version of The Weakest Link. Playing for a charity, she made it to the final two, but ended up losing to Ed Begley, Jr. Music[edit] As a singer, Lawrence got her start as one of the scores of hopefuls on the syndicated Johnny Mann's Stand Up And Cheer program. However, she is most known for her number-one hit, "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia", a song written by her first husband Bobby Russell, which was released on Bell Records in November 1972. It sold over two million copies and was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America in April 1973.[5] During the last episode of the sixth season of The Carol Burnett Show
The Carol Burnett Show
(March 24, 1973), Lawrence received her gold record by surprise from Carol Burnett. Her first LP, The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, was issued soon after the single went gold. "He Did With Me", Lawrence's followup to "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia", reached number 75 in the United States, although it reached the top 20 of the adult contemporary music charts and also became her biggest hit in Australia, peaking at number one there in November 1973. She followed it up there with "Ships in the Night" (1974). In the fall of 1975, Lawrence managed one last minor U.S. chart entry on the Private Stock label with "The Other Woman" (number 81). In 1974, she recorded her second LP for Bell Records, Ships in the Night. The label was in the process of being bought out by Arista, and the LP was not released in the U.S. The LP was, however, released in Australia, where she continued to have chart success. Lawrence's first two LPs were released as a single CD with bonus tracks on April 1, 2014, by Real Gone Music. She released a disco album entitled Newborn Woman late in 1979. The album produced the minor disco hit "Don't Stop the Music". Hosting and other work[edit] As an emcee, she hosted the daytime NBC
NBC
version of the game show Win, Lose or Draw, as well as an unsold pilot for Mark Goodson
Mark Goodson
Productions, 1990's Body Talk, and has also appeared often as a popular panelist on such game shows as Match Game, Password, Password Plus, Super Password, and various incarnations of the Pyramid game show, where she was known for verbally sparring with host Dick Clark
Dick Clark
on numerous occasions. She also appeared on the 1986-89 version of Hollywood Squares, where she appeared both as herself and in character as Thelma "Mama" Harper. Lawrence was nominated a number of times for a Daytime Emmy Award
Emmy Award
for Outstanding Talk
Talk
Show Host for the eponymous Vicki! (1992–1994), but the show was canceled after two seasons. She tours the country with her "two-woman" show with the first half as herself and the second half done as Mama. She can also be seen on TV in an infomercial for the Big Boss Grill. She is also known for her voice-over work as Flo on the animated series Hermie and Friends. Personal life[edit] Lawrence was married to singer and songwriter Bobby Russell from 1972-74. Lawrence's second husband is Hollywood make-up artist Al Schultz, to whom she has been married since November 16, 1974, and with whom she has two children, Courtney Allison Schultz (born May 5, 1975) and Garrett Lawrence Schultz (born July 3, 1977). Lawrence and her family appeared on Celebrity Family Feud
Celebrity Family Feud
in July 2015.[6] Lawrence was diagnosed with chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU) around 2011.[7] She teamed with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and has become the spokesperson for the campaign CIU & You.[8] She appeared on The Doctors in 2015 to relay her story and talk about CIU and promote the CIU & You campaign.[9] Filmography[edit]

Selected film and television roles

Year Title Role Notes

1967–1978 The Carol Burnett
Carol Burnett
Show Various characters Regular cast member Won – Primetime Emmy Award
Emmy Award
for Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program – 1976 Nominated – Primetime Emmy award for Best Supporting Actress
Actress
in Comedy-Variety, Variety or Music (1967) Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award
Emmy Award
for Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program (1975, 1977) Nominated – Golden Globe Award
Golden Globe Award
for Best Supporting Actress
Actress
– Series, Miniseries or Television Film (1973, 1975, 1977)

1975–1991 The (New) $25,000 Pyramid Herself (celebrity contestant) 90 episodes

1976–1991 The $25,000 Pyramid Herself (celebrity contestant) 7 episodes

1978 The Eddie Capra Mysteries Eve Randall 1 episode

1978–1986 The Love Boat Various roles 6 episodes

1979 Carol Burnett
Carol Burnett
& Company Various characters Regular cast member

1979 Laverne & Shirley Sgt. Alvinia T. Plout 5 episodes

1979-1981 Password Plus Herself (celebrity contestant) 49 episodes

1982 Eunice Thelma Harper TV movie Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award
Emmy Award
for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie (1980–81)

1983–1990 Mama's Family Thelma Harper Starring role

1984–88 Super Password Herself (celebrity contestant) 44 episodes

1986 Murder She Wrote Jackie Mackay Season 2, Episode 13 "Trial By Error" shown 01/12/1986

1987–89 Win, Lose or Draw Host Nominated – Daytime Emmy Award
Emmy Award
for Outstanding Game Show Host (1988, 1989)

1991 Major Dad "Pookie" Pond 1 episode

1992–94 Vicki! Host Nominated – Daytime Emmy Award
Emmy Award
for Outstanding Talk
Talk
Show Host (1993, 1994, 1995)

1993 Roseanne Phyllis Zimmer 1 episode

1994 Hart to Hart: Old Friends Never Die Nora Kingsley, author TV movie

1997 Fox After Breakfast: The Vicki Lawrence
Vicki Lawrence
Show Host

2001–05 Yes, Dear Natalie Warner 7 episodes

2002–04 Hollywood Squares Herself/ Thelma Harper
Thelma Harper
(celebrity panelist) 45 episodes

2006–2011 Hannah Montana Ruthie "Mamaw" Stewart 5 episodes

2012 RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Herself/Thelma Harper 1 episode

2015 Celebrity Family Feud Herself 1 episode

2017 Great News Angie Deltaliano 4 episodes

Discography[edit] Albums[edit]

Year Album Chart Positions Catalog #

U.S. Can.

1973 The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia 51 31 Bell 1120

1974 Ships in the Night — — SOSL10106

1979 Newborn Woman — — WindMill L26

Singles[edit]

Year Song Chart Positions Album

U.S. U.S. AC U.S. Country Can. Can. AC Can. Country

1969 "And I'll Go" b/w "The Whole State Of Alabama" — — — — — — Non-album tracks

1970 "No, No" b/w "Lincoln Street Chapel" — — — — — —

1973 "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" b/w "Dime A Dance" 1 6 36 1 2 25 The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia

"He Did With Me" b/w "Mr. Allison" 75 14 — 42 16 —

1974 "Ships In The Night" b/w "Sensual Man" (from The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia) — 49 — — — — Ships In The Night

"Mama's Gonna Make it All Better" b/w "Cameo" — — — — — —

"Old Home Movies" b/w "The Light On The Back Porch Door" (from Ships In The Night) U.K. release only — — — — — — Non-album tracks

1975 "The Other Woman" b/w "Cameo" 81 — — 97 — —

1976 "There's a Gun Still Smokin' in Nashville" b/w "Mama's Gonna Make It All Better" — — — — — —

"Love In The Hot Afternoon" b/w "The Other Man I've Been Slipping Around With" — — — — — —

1977 "Hollywood Seven" B-side unknown — — — — — —

1979 "Don't Stop The Music" b/w "Newborn Woman" — — — — — — Newborn Woman

"Your Lies" b/w "Star Love" — — — — — —

"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Books[edit]

Vicki!: The True-Life Adventures of Miss Fireball (1995) – ISBN 0-684-80286-4; published by Simon & Schuster with Marc Eliot, an American biographer listed several times on The New York Times bestsellers list.[10] Mama for President: Good Lord, Why Not? (2008) ISBN 1-4016-0409-9 ISBN 978-1-4016-0409-7, with Monty Aidem, an American comedy writer.[11]

References[edit]

^ "Video Gallery". NBC. Retrieved 2013-03-05.  ^ "VICKI LAWRENCE booking – Celebrity Actors, Comedians – Corporate Entertainment Booking". Delafont.com. 1949-03-26. Retrieved 2012-03-31.  ^ " Vicki Lawrence
Vicki Lawrence
Biography". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2012-03-31.  ^ a b c d e "Vicki Lawrence". Archive of American Television. Retrieved 11 May 2015.  ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 314–315. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.  ^ "Celebrity Family Feud:Joey Lawrence vs. Mario Lopez/Ed Asner vs. Vicki Lawrence". IMDB.com. Retrieved 2015-08-02.  ^ "CIU&You". Ciuandyou.com. Retrieved 2015-03-11.  ^ "Comedienne, Actress
Actress
Vicki Lawrence
Vicki Lawrence
Teams Up with AAFA To Talk
Talk
About Chronic Skin Condition". Multivu.com. Retrieved 2015-03-11.  ^ "VICKI LAWRENCE'S CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITION". Thedoctorstv.com. Retrieved 2015-03-11.  ^ "Marc Eliot: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-11-11.  ^ "Keynote Speaker: Monty Aidem". Wcspeakers.com. Retrieved 2012-11-11. 

External links[edit]

Official website The Music of Vicki Lawrence
Vicki Lawrence
at Webstarts Vicki Lawrence
Vicki Lawrence
on Bandcamp
Bandcamp
Vicki Lawrence
Vicki Lawrence
discography at Discogs Vicki Lawrence
Vicki Lawrence
at AllMusic Vicki Lawrence
Vicki Lawrence
on IMDb
IMDb
Vicki Lawrence
Vicki Lawrence
interview video at the Archive of American Television

v t e

Primetime Emmy Award
Emmy Award
for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program

Perry Como
Perry Como
/ Dinah Shore
Dinah Shore
(1959) Harry Belafonte
Harry Belafonte
(1960) Fred Astaire
Fred Astaire
(1961) Carol Burnett
Carol Burnett
(1962) Carol Burnett
Carol Burnett
(1963) Danny Kaye
Danny Kaye
(1964) Art Carney
Art Carney
(1967) Art Carney
Art Carney
/ Pat Paulsen
Pat Paulsen
(1968) Arte Johnson
Arte Johnson
/ Harvey Korman
Harvey Korman
(1969) Harvey Korman
Harvey Korman
(1971) Harvey Korman
Harvey Korman
(1972) Tim Conway
Tim Conway
(1973) Harvey Korman
Harvey Korman
/ Brenda Vaccaro
Brenda Vaccaro
(1974) Jack Albertson
Jack Albertson
/ Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman
(1975) Chevy Chase
Chevy Chase
/ Vicki Lawrence
Vicki Lawrence
(1976) Tim Conway
Tim Conway
/ Rita Moreno
Rita Moreno
(1977) Tim Conway
Tim Conway
/ Gilda Radner
Gilda Radner
(1978) Sarah Vaughan
Sarah Vaughan
(1981) Nell Carter
Nell Carter
/ André De Shields
André De Shields
(1982) Leontyne Price
Leontyne Price
(1983) Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman
(1984) George Hearn (1985) Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston
(1986) Robin Williams
Robin Williams
(1987) Robin Williams
Robin Williams
(1988) Linda Ronstadt
Linda Ronstadt
(1989) Tracey Ullman
Tracey Ullman
(1990) Billy Crystal
Billy Crystal
(1991) Bette Midler
Bette Midler
(1992) Dana Carvey (1993) Tracey Ullman
Tracey Ullman
(1994) Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand
(1995) Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
(1996) Bette Midler
Bette Midler
(1997) Billy Crystal
Billy Crystal
(1998) John Leguizamo
John Leguizamo
(1999) Eddie Izzard
Eddie Izzard
(2000) Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand
(2001) Sting (2002) Wayne Brady
Wayne Brady
(2003) Elaine Stritch
Elaine Stritch
(2004) Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman
(2005) Barry Manilow
Barry Manilow
(2006) Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
(2007) Don Rickles
Don Rickles
(2008)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 265464938 LCCN: n94119863 GND: 122219139 MusicBrainz: 86b453a5-87f2-4e7f-aa6b-ec9dfb378689 SN

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