Family & Companions
Vicki Lawrence was an American comedic actor, pop singer and game show host who was best known for her 11 year run playing a multitude of comedic characters on the popular sketch comedy variety series "The Carol Burnett Show" (CBS, 1967-78). Born and raised in Inglewood, California, Lawrence had a normal childhood and dreamt of one day becoming a dental hygienist. Her dreams of simple, middle class life, however, were derailed when, while still in her teens, Lawrence auditioned for and was accepted into the musical group The Young Americans. Her tenure in the group, which travelled the country and performed at such nationally televised events like the Oscars, forever changed Lawrence's life. She grew to love singing and performing and dreamt of having a long-lasting career in show business. Then, as luck would have it, while doing an interview for a local newspaper the journalist interviewing her noted how Lawrence resembled a young Carol Burnett. When the story was published Lawrence was surprised to learn that the journalist had included the aside about her resemblance to Burnett. Then, on a whim, Lawrence wrote a fan letter to Burnett and included a clipping of her interview. After reading the letter, Burnett was able to find Lawrence's telephone number. She called the young actress and asked her to audition for a part as her younger sister on her new variety series. Flabbergasted, Lawrence went to the audition and was completely floored when she was hired for the part. The show, of course, was "The Carol Burnett Show" and over the course of the next 11 years Lawrence would earn a graduate school degree in comedy, whilst debuting a number of popular comedy characters, the most notable of which was her Thelma Harper character, also known as "Mama." Next to Burnett, Lawrence was the only member of the cast to stay on the show throughout its entirety. During this period, Lawrence fulfilled another childhood dream by scoring a Top 40 pop hit with the story song "The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia" in 1973. When the series ended in 1978, Lawrence continued performing her popular Mama character on the sitcom "Mama's Family" (NBC/Syndication, 1983-1990). "Mama's Family" ran for six successful seasons, earning a Primetime Emmy in the process. After the show ended its run in 1990 Lawrence continued acting steadily in both films and TV shows throughout the ensuing decades. She also hosted the game show "Win, Lose or Draw" (NBC/Syndication, 1987-1992) from 1987 to 1989, and even hosted her own short-lived daytime talk show called "Vicki!" (Syndication, 1992-1994) in the early 90s. By the late 2010s Lawrence had returned to television acting with a recurring part on the Tina Fey-produced NBC sitcom "Great News" (NBC, 2017-2018), but that series was cancelled after two seasons. Then in the fall of 2018 Lawrence joined the cast of the Fox sitcom "The Cool Kids" (Fox, 2018- ). That show, which was created by Charlie Day and also starred David Alan Grier, premiered on the network in September of 2018.
Cast (Feature Film)
Appeared with The Young Americans singing group for three years
Entered and won the Miss Fireball Contest
Played various characters, including her best known character "Mama," on "The Carol Burnett Show"
Appeared as regular on summer series "The Jimmie Rogers Show"
Scored a number one hit song with "The Night the Light Went Out in Georgia"
Made TV-movie debut, "Having Babies"
Reprised her Mama character on the long-running comedy series "Mama's Family"
Hosted the daytime talk show "Vicki!"
Named a long-term guest host of "Fox After Breakfast"; in August program was overhauled and relaunched as "The Vicki Lawrence Show"; show cancelled in October
Became regular panelist on the syndicated version of "The Match Game"
Launched own line of cosmetics sold on Home Shopping Network
Was a recurring character on the sitcom "Yes, Dear"
Nabbed a recurring part on the comedy series "Great News"