Victoria Ann Lawrence is a well-known American actress and occasional singer who is also known for her comedic performances. Occasionally known as Vicki Lawrence Schultz, she gained fame as part of a television show called The Carol Burnett Show, which was broadcast on CBS. She was part of the show from 1967 to 1978 and the only person among all the other cast members (except Burnett) who stayed on the show from the beginning to the end.
Her song – The Night The Light, released in 1973, made her a one-hit-wonder as it became one of the top-charting songs in the US and Canada. With many Emmy Awards and Golden Globe nominations, Vicki Lawrence has long established herself as an A-lister. Here are all the things you always wanted to know about her and her career.
Vicki Lawrence’s Background Information
The talented entertainer was born on 26 March 1949 as Victoria Axelrad in California. She graduated from a public school in Inglewood, California, known as Morningside High School. The school was then the second largest in the city after Inglewood High School.
In her early days in high school, from 1965 to 1967, she became a member of a music group known as The Young Americans, and as part of the group, she had the opportunity to perform at the Oscars. It was Vicki Lawrence’s original plan to become a dental hygienist, and to accomplish this she enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles, at a time when she was already on the Carol Burnett Show. Over time, however, she switched to theater arts but left the institution two years later.
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Her Acting Career: The Beginning
As a high school senior, Vicki Lawrence participated in the local Firefighters’ Ball competition and joined other young girls to compete for the crown of Miss Fireball of Inglewood. Her decision to participate in this competition brought her into contact with the then already established star Carol Burnette and marked the beginning of her acting career on a professional level. So it happened…
A reporter from the local newspaper, who wrote a story about the beauty contest, expressed clearly that Vicki looked a lot like Carol Burnett. Thrilled with the publication, Vicki’s mother convinced her to write a letter to Carol and attach the newspaper article. After the actress received the letter, she became interested in seeing Lawrence and called her father to inform him that she would be in the Miss Fireball pageant. As fate would have it, Vicki not only met her doppelganger but also the winner of the competition and was crowned by Burnett herself.
Career Breakthrough Via The Carol Burnett Show
It also turned out that Carol Burnett was at that time looking for an actress to play the character of her younger sister in her upcoming show “Carol and Sister”, which was one of the sketches in her Carol Burnett show. Luckily, Miss Lawrence got the role (Chrissy) a few months later after going through several auditions. She then played many other roles on the show, including Thelma Harper/Mom in the sketches “The Family” on The Carol Burnett Show.
After her perfect portrayal of the character of Mama, a distant, unfeeling and emotionless mother of Eunice (Burnett), the sketches became so popular that NBC decided to deepen the character of Thelma Harper/Mama by creating the sitcom Mama’s Family with her as the main character. The series was aired on NBC from 1983 to 1985 and, after being canceled in the first show, was renewed in syndication from 1986 to 1990. Fortunately, the renewed version was even more successful. Vicki then resumed the role of Mama in a stage play entitled Vicki Lawrence & Mama: A Two-Woman Show.
Vicki Lawrence’s outstanding performance on The Carol Burnett Show earned her great recognition and earned her four nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award, of which she won one in 1976, and three nominations for the Golden Globe Award. Meanwhile, Carol Burnett and actor/comedian Harvey Korman began working as mentors for Vicki, the latter teaching her various sketch-comedy skills. Vicki Lawrence described the show as the “Harvard School of Comedy” and called Burnett the source of her knowledge of show business.
Other Movies And Television Series
Lawrence has appeared on other shows including The Eddie Capra Mysteries, Laverne & Shirley, The Love Boat, Yes, Dear, Roseanne and Major Dad. In 1979 she was a regular cast member of Carol Burnett & Company, where she portrayed various characters and also resumed her role as Thelma Harper in the television movie Eunice, which earned her a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award.
While Mama’s Family was broadcast on NBC and other stations, Vicki Lawrence starred in the pilot comedy Anything for Love (1985), which was shown as a special on CBS this summer. She then appeared in an episode of Murder She Wrote and Diagnosis Murder as Jackie Mackay and Kitty Lynn respectively. After that, Vicki also played the role of Nora Kingsley in the TV movie Hart Zu Hart: Old Friends Never Die, 1994.
From 2006 to 2011 the actress appeared in five episodes of the Disney hit series Hannah Montana in the role of Ruthie “Mamaw” Stewart, the mother of Robby Ray Stewart and the grandmother of Jackson and Miley Stewart. In 2017 she appeared in four episodes of the Great News and from 2018 to 2019 she played a leading role in the comedy television series The Cool Kids.
Discover More Interesting Facts About The Entertainer
TV Game Show Appearances
Vicki Lawrence has appeared on and hosted a number of television game shows. From 1975 to 1991 she participated in 90 episodes of The (New) $25,000 Pyramid as a celebrity contestant and from 1976 to 1991 she also appeared in seven episodes of The $25,000 Pyramid. In the following years, Vicki participated in nearly fifty episodes of Password Plus and Super Password.
She then hosted Win, Lose or Draw, for which she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award in 1988 and 1989. From 1992 to 1994 she also hosted the syndicated talk show, Vicki! and received three other Daytime Emmy Award nominations for hosting the Outstanding Talk Show. She later hosted the Fox After Breakfast: The Vicki Lawrence Show in 1997 and appeared as herself/Thelma Harper (celebrity panelist) in 45 episodes of Hollywood Squares from 2002 to 2004.
In 2012 and 2015 the talented lady appeared in an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars and Celebrity Family Feud. She also played for a charity in a special celebrity episode of Anne Robinson’s version of The Weakest Link, but she lost.
Her Net Worth
Vicki Lawrence spent over a decade of her career on the Carol Burnette Show, making her one of the show’s top earners. Most of her later major appearances were related to the show, including Mama’s Family, which was an offshoot of the show. Vicki Lawrence certainly made a lot of her fortune from that time. But the actress has remained active over the years and shows no signs of wanting to take a bow.
In addition to her role on several TV shows, Vicki Lawrence hosted several TV shows, a part of her career that has definitely done much to increase her total wealth, which is estimated at $8 million.
Who Is Vicki Lawrence’s Husband?
Vicki Lawrence was first married to the singer Bobby Russell from 1972 to 1974. He was an American singer and songwriter who wrote the lyrics to Lawrence’s hit The Night The Light. Bobby died on November 19, 1992.
Later she met the Hollywood make-up artist Al Schultz, who appeared on screen as a make-up artist at the Carol Burnett Show. She married him the same year that she divorced Russell, and the two have been inseparable ever since. The couple have two children – a daughter, Courtney Allison Schultz, and a son, Garrett Lawrence Schultz, born in May 1975 and July 1977 respectively.
The Actress’ Chronic Health Condition
Vicki Lawrence was diagnosed with Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria (CIU) in 2011. She has therefore taken on a spokesperson for the CIU & You campaign in collaboration with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. She has spoken about the disease in an episode of The Doctors in 2015.