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Vicki Lawrence got her big break on "The Carol Burnett Show." agomez@abqjournal.com Sun May 31 21:05:24 -0600 2015 1433127916 FILENAME: 193087.jpg

Vicki Lawrence

Actress, Comedian & Women's Activist

Multi-talented Vicki Lawrence was born in Inglewood, California where she excelled in dancing and singing, was a cheerleader and was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by her graduating class. From 1965 to 1967 Vicki sang with the Young Americans musical group and, also, appeared in the feature film “The Young Americans” which won an Academy…

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Multi-talented Vicki Lawrence was born in Inglewood, California where she excelled in dancing and singing, was a cheerleader and was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by her graduating class.

From 1965 to 1967 Vicki sang with the Young Americans musical group and, also, appeared in the feature film “The Young Americans” which won an Academy Award for Best Documentary.

During her senior year of high school Vicki sent Carol Burnett a letter which included a local newspaper article mentioning their resemblance. Vicki invited Ms. Burnett to the local fire department’s “Miss Fireball Contest” in which she was performing. Ms. Burnett, looking for an actress to play her kid sister on her new variety series, contacted Vicki and made arrangements to come to the event. The rest is television history. “The Carol Burnett Show” premiered in the fall of 1967; the same year Vicki entered UCLA to study Theater Arts. She spent eleven years with Carol, earning one Emmy Award and five Emmy nominations. Vicki has two books out; her autobiography “Vicki, the True Life Adventures of Miss Fireball” and “Mama for President, Good Lord Why Not?”

In 1968, Vicki went to Viet Nam to visit the U.S. troops with Johnny Grant. Several years later, in 1973, Vicki received a gold record as a recording artist for he international hit single “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia”.

After the Burnett show ended, Vicki went on to star in her own TV series, “Mama’s Family” with Ken Berry, Dorothy Lyman, Beverly Archer, and Allan Kayser. The last original episode was made in January of 1990, completing five years of first-run syndication. It is available everywhere on DVD.

Vicki was the honorary head of the D.A.R.E. program in Long Beach, California for two years while her kids were still young and in school. Around that time she and her husband also became members of the Long Beach Police Officer’s Association that raises money to protect the widows and families of slain police officers. Her efforts to protect women’s rights were recognized in 1988 when Vicki was the first woman to be honored as “Person of the Year” by the Coalition of Labor Union Women. Shortly thereafter, Vicki became one of the few successful, female game show hosts when she took on the daytime network-version of “Win, Lose or Draw”.

Vicki further perfected her hosting skills on her own daytime talk show, appropriately called “Vicki!”, from 1992 to 1994. In the fall of 1997, she briefly returned to daytime talk as the host of “Fox After Breakfast” from New York City.

On stage Vicki has appeared in numerous productions, including “Carousel”, “Send Me No Flowers”, “No, No, Nanette”, “My Fat Friend”, “Chapter Two”, “Twigs”, “Hello Dolly”, “Special Occasions”, “I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It ON The Road”, “Annie Get Your Gun”, and live from the Grand Ole Opry, “Nunsense 3: The Jamboree” which aired on TNN.

Other TV credits of note include playing Greg Warner’s mother in a recurring role on “Yes, Dear” and most recently, playing Miley Cyrus’ grandma on Hannah Montana.  The roll of “Mamaw” recurred numerous times during the series four-year run starting in 2006.  In 2002 Vicki launched her 1 woman show entitled “Vicki Lawrence and Mama, A Two Woman Show”. It has been so successful that she is currently out on the road performing the 40th Anniversary Tour. She also travels all over the country speaking to women’s organizations about her life and career, women’s health, and being a woman in a man’s world. All the while she approaches everything with her characteristic sense of humor, reminding us all that “Life is much too serious to be taken seriously!” Vicki has done work with the Humane Society, the American Heart Association and their “Go Red for Women” campaign, and the WALK FOR THE CURE in her hometown where all the proceeds go to breast and ovarian cancer research at Long Beach Memorial Center.

In 1974 Vicki married the head of CBS make-up, Al Schultz, who is both her best friend and professional partner. Al and Vicki have two grown children, Courtney and Garrett. They live at the beach with their two most current dogs, Molly a yellow Labrador Retriever and Lucas a Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen. In her spare time Vicki enjoys cooking.

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Being a Woman in a Man’s World
Lawrence travels all over the country speaking to womens organizations about her life and career, and the challenges and obstacles faced as a woman in what is seemingly still a mans world. Shes brings to the stage her characteristic humor and wit, reminding us all that “Life is much too serious to be taken seriously!”

Life is much too Serious to be taken Seriously!
Usually I speak about my life and all the fun, comical things that have happened to me. It has been my experience that when I am speaking, people expect and want to laugh. So, I share the anecdotes of my life. How I met Carol, how I became a natural redhead, how I met my husband, how Mama came to be… I talk about being a working mom and other humorous things that women can relate to.

When everyone has laughed for a bit, I segue way into a more difficult time in my life…the cancellation of my talk show and the subsequent battle I had with depression. I discuss how I got through it and the remedies that worked for me.

I wrap it up by reminding everyone that my motto, “life is much too serious to be taken seriously,” is a mantra to live by and that laughter truly is the best medicine.

I, of course, end with some humor. Sometimes people like to do a few minutes of questions and answers, sometimes not. I am agreeable to whatever works for your specific occasion.

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Vicki Lawrence on an infamous blooper on "The Carol Burnett Show" - EMMYTVLEGENDS

Vicki Lawrence Speaker - PDA Speakers

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