Vicki Lawrence is a singer and character actor who has enjoyed moderate success over the years. She was born on March 26, 1949, in Inglewood, California. She sang and danced from an early age, and was also a cheerleader. Her high school graduating class voted her “Most Likely to Succeed.”
Vicki Lawrence’s life was changed when a she appeared in a concert during her senior year. A reporter, covering the event for the local newspaper, took note of the young woman’s resemblance to comedienne Carol Burnett. Vicki sent the clipping to the actress, and invited her to attend a benefit show that she would be performing in. As it happened, Carol Burnett was looking for someone to play her sister in some skits on the new television show she was casting. Vicki was chosen for the role, and “The Carol Burnett Show” debuted in 1967 and ran for eleven years.
While appearing on the variety show, Vicki continued to pursue her singing. In 1973, her song “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” spent two weeks at number one on the Billboard pop charts. The song was written by her husband at the time, Bobby Russell, but the pair were only married from 1972 until 1974.
After the Burnett show ended, Vicki became the star of “Mama’s Family,” a situation comedy based on a recurring skit from “The Carol Burnett Show.” In it, Vicki played a crotchety, irritable, elderly matriarch named Thelma Harper. “Mama’s Family” was shown in first-run syndication from 1983 to 1990 with a two-year hiatus, and can still be seen today in many areas. On a personal side note, “Mama’s Family” was the first place I saw Vicki Lawrence, and I was shocked to learn that she was not really an eighty-year-old woman.
Vicki’s most recent starring role on television was as the host of her own talk show, “Vicki!” from 1992 until 1994. The show was very energetic and featured a variety of guests as well as segments on modern women’s issues. I recall that on one occasion, they discussed the ideal substance with which to pad a bra. Jello pudding was selected as the optimum filler. The show was nominated for an Emmy after its first year, and was evidently cancelled after its second. Go figure.
Vicki has also continually appeared on stage in musicals such as “Carousel” and “Hello Dolly!,” and a more serious turn in “The Vagina Monologues.” Vicki is also an avid animal lover, and she strongly supports the Humane Society. She has been married to her second husband, Alvin Schultz, for more than 25 years, and they have two grown children, Courtney and Garrett. They live on the beach in California.
(Some information taken from www.imdb.com and www.vickilawrence.com.)