Carol Lawrence (born Carolina Maria Laraia; September 5, 1932) is an American actress, who has appeared in musical theatre and on television. She is best known for portraying Maria on Broadway in the musical West Side Story (1957), receiving a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. She has appeared at The Muny, St. Louis in several musicals, including Funny Girl. She also appeared in many television dramas, including Rawhide to Murder She Wrote. She was married to fellow performer Robert Goulet.
Lawrence in a scene from the
General Electric Theater episode
"The Iron Silence" (1961)
Carolina Maria Laraia
September 5, 1932
Melrose Park, Illinois, U.S.
(m. 1956; div. 1959)
(m. 1963; div. 1981)
John Gregory Guydus
(m. 1982; div. 1983)
Born Carolina Maria Laraia  in Melrose Park, Illinois, her parents were of Italian ancestry. Her father was born in Trivigno, in the province of Potenza, and her maternal family came from the same town. She spent one year at Northwestern University and then left to pursue her career.
Lawrence made her Broadway debut in 1952 in Leonard Sillman's New Faces of 1952. She achieved success in the role of Maria in the original Broadway production of West Side Story in 1957, and received a nomination for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for this role. She played the role for two years, and after an appearance in the short-lived show Saratoga in 1959 she returned to West Side Story for its 1960 season. Other Broadway successes were Subways Are for Sleeping, I Do! I Do! (replacement "She/Agnes", 1967) and Kiss of the Spider Woman (1992–93, replacement Spider Woman/Aurora).
She played several roles at The Muny in St. Louis, Missouri, the largest outdoor theater in the U.S., including Fanny Brice in Funny Girl (1975), Charity in Sweet Charity (1977), and Lucille Early in No, No, Nanette (1990). Among her other musical theatre parts are the title role in Mame (2000 at the Helen Hayes Center for Performing Arts in Nyack, New York), Guenevere in Camelot (opposite husband Robert Goulet), Do I Hear a Waltz? at the Pasadena Playhouse (2001) and Follies at the Wadsworth Theatre in Los Angeles in 2002.
Her television performances include a guest role in Breaking Point (as Evelyn Denner in the 1963 episode entitled "There Are the Hip, and There Are the Square"). In October 1976, she appeared as the special guest on the popular weekly variety program The Bobby Vinton Show, which aired across the United States and Canada. She performed "Friend of the Father". Other appearances include Rawhide, Combat!, Wagon Train, The Fugitive, Hawaii 5-0, Marcus Welby, M.D., Medical Center, Kung Fu, Mannix, Murder She Wrote, Saved by the Bell, and Sex and the City.
In 1992–93, she played the role of matriarch Angela Eckart on General Hospital. She hosted five shows of Chef du Jour for the Food Network, cooking from I Remember Pasta, her own cookbook, and setting a record for cookbook sales on the Home Shopping Network.
In 1999, she appeared in the television movie remake of Jason Miller's That Championship Season in a cameo role as Claire's mother (the mother-in-law of Vincent D'Onofrio's character), a role written into the film specifically for her. In 2013, she appeared Off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre Downstairs in Jason Odell Williams's play Handle with Care.
Lawrence has written her autobiography, with Phyllis Hobe, titled Carol Lawrence: The Backstage Story, published in 1990.
Lawrence has been married three times:
Lawrence and Goulet married when both were Broadway stars and their romance was treated in the press like a fairy tale. In her 1990 book, Carol Lawrence: The Backstage Story, she accused Goulet of being an alcoholic and an abusive husband and father.
Lawrence, a registered Democrat, accompanied Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman John Bailey, DNC Vice-Chairwoman Margaret B. Price, DNC Secretary Dorothy Vredenburgh Bush, Lena Horne, Richard Alder and Sidney Salomon on a visit with President John F. Kennedy at The White House on November 20, 1963, two days before his assassination.
The year 1932 in television involved some significant events.
Below is a list of television-related events during 1932.29th Tony Awards
The 29th Annual Tony Awards ceremony was held on April 20, 1975, at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York City, and broadcast by ABC television. Hosts/Performers/Presenters were Larry Blyden, George S. Irving, Larry Kert, Carol Lawrence, Michele Lee, Bernadette Peters and Bobby Van.A Boy Like That
"A Boy Like That" is a song from the 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story, with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. In the musical, the song is paired with "I Have a Love" and is sung by the characters Anita and Maria. For the original Broadway cast recording, the song was performed by Chita Rivera (Anita) and Carol Lawrence (Maria). In the 1960 film version the roles were played by Rita Moreno and Natalie Wood, but the songs were dubbed by Betty Wand and Marni Nixon (as both Anita and Maria). However, the repeat of the two stanzas, sung by Anita, along with Maria's counterpoint of her defense, was omitted because of the complexity of the song, as well as to avoid the repetition, which would have slowed down the pace of the film.In 2010, Lin Manuel Miranda and Raul Esparza performed the song at Broadway Backwards, an annual Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS showcase of show tunes sung by different genders. Miranda played Anita, while Esparza played Maria.Florence LaRue
Florence LaRue (born February 4, 1944) is an American actress, humanitarian, and Grammy Award award-winning singer. She is best known as an original member of the 5th Dimension.Hayden Griffin
Hayden Griffin (23 January 1943 – 24 March 2013) was a British stage designer, best known for his work for the Royal Court Theatre and the Royal National Theatre. Griffin was "regarded by many as the finest stage designer of his generation".Hayden Griffin was born on 23 January 1943 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. His father flew for the South African Air Force as a Spitfire pilot, and his mother was a cousin of the novelist Alan Paton.Griffin was educated at Maritzburg College, followed by Durban Art School.Griffin was married twice, firstly to Carol Lawrence, with whom he had three children, and secondly to Fiona Williams, with whom he had a son.He died from cancer on 24 March 2013, in London, aged 70.I Do! I Do! (musical)
I Do! I Do! is a musical with a book and lyrics by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Schmidt which is based on the Jan de Hartog play The Fourposter. The two-character story spans fifty years, from 1895 to 1945, as it focuses on the ups and downs experienced by Agnes and Michael throughout their marriage. The set consists solely of their bedroom, dominated by the large fourposter bed in the center of the room.Kenley Players
The Kenley Players was an Equity summer stock theatre company which presented hundreds of productions featuring Broadway, film, and television stars in Midwestern cities between 1940 and 1996. Variety called it the "largest network of theaters on the straw hat circuit." Founded by and operated for its entire lifespan by John Kenley, it is credited with laying the groundwork for Broadway touring companies.The company's success was predicated on booking big-name stars for their box office potential, casting them in familiar plays and musicals, and keeping prices low, thereby attracting large crowds. In its heyday, Kenley Players productions drew crowds of 5,000 in Dayton, Akron, and Columbus Ohio. Kenley "pioneered the notion of putting TV stars in summer stock." In a 1950 interview Kenley told The Washington Post, "I only charge $1.50 top...I'd rather have full houses every night than be stuck with a batch of empty seats."Headliners included Tallulah Bankhead, Cyd Charisse, Rosemary Clooney, Olivia de Havilland, Veronica Lake, Gypsy Rose Lee, Arthur Godfrey, Rudy Vallée, Tommy Tune, Burt Reynolds, Ethel Merman, Mae West, Billy Crystal, William Shatner, Betty White, Florence Henderson, Mickey Rooney, Roddy McDowall, Marlene Dietrich, Jayne Mansfield, Rock Hudson and Gloria Swanson. Those who appeared in more than five productions included Edie Adams, Ed Ames, Vivian Blaine, Mitzi Gaynor, Vincent Price, Genevieve, Robert Goulet, Lois Hunt, Van Johnson, Carol Lawrence, Paul Lynde, Gordon MacRae, Ann Miller, Karen Morrow, John Raitt, Martha Raye, Alexis Smith, Betty White, Barry Williams, and Earl Wrightson.Backstage called the Kenley Players "a legendary summer stock circuit." Playbill called it "for decades, a renowned midwestern summer stock outfit."New Faces (film)
New Faces is a 1954 American film adaptation of the musical revue New Faces of 1952 directed by Harry Horner and sketches directed by John Beal. Filmed in Cinemascope and Eastmancolor it was released by 20th Century Fox on March 6, 1954.
The film is sometimes referred to as New Faces of 1952 due to the original Broadway show's title.New Faces of 1952
New Faces of 1952 is a musical revue with songs and comedy skits. It ran on Broadway for nearly a year in 1952 and was then made into a motion picture in 1954. It helped jump start the careers of several young performers including Paul Lynde, Alice Ghostley, Eartha Kitt, Robert Clary, Carol Lawrence, Ronny Graham, performer/writer Mel Brooks (as Melvin Brooks), and lyricist Sheldon Harnick.One Hand, One Heart
"One Hand, One Heart" is a song from the musical West Side Story. It is a duet sung between Maria and Tony. Larry Kert and Carol Lawrence introduced it in the 1957 Broadway production.Paul Trueblood
Paul Trueblood (November 11, 1935 - January 16, 2012) was musical director/pianist for a variety of performers including Diane Keaton, Michael Feinstein, Julie Wilson, Carol Lawrence, Matthew Broderick, Anita Ellis, and Earl Wrightson and Lois Hunt. He was personal pianist for lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and director Joshua Logan. He wrote special material for Radio City Music Hall, Martin Charnin's Upstairs at O'Neal's, numerous cabaret performers, and two scores for the American Methodist Bicentennial A Church Is Born (Carnegie Hall, 1985) and Aldersgate 88 (Avery Fisher Hall, 1988). He appeared with Betty Comden and Adolph Green on Broadway and thereafter in many concert engagements.
He conducted the New York companies of the Drama Critics Award musical Your Own Thing, the 1986 Broadway revival of Oh, Coward!, Joshua Logan's remounting of Annie Get Your Gun, The Chosen, Red White and Maddox and Dancing in the Dark, a revue of the songs of Dietz and Schwartz, produced by Arthur Schwartz for the Manhattan Theater Club.
In 1996-97, he toured the world with Marianne Faithfull in a Kurt Weill evening. His CD with Marianne Faithfull, 20th Century Blues, was recorded live at the New Morning Club and released by RCA Victor.
As a composer, Paul Trueblood's work was heard at Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and in every major New York cabaret venue.
He conducted two CDs with Metropolitan Opera star Youngok Shin (Samsung Classics), and with Broadway legend Sally Ann Howes, and was the musical director for young German chanteuse Micaela Leon.
He was also a Master Teacher at the annual Cabaret Conference at Yale University.Saratoga (musical)
Saratoga is a musical with a book by Morton DaCosta, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, and music by Harold Arlen.
Based on Edna Ferber's sprawling novel Saratoga Trunk, it focuses on Clio Dulaine, an "illegitimate" Creole woman who seeks revenge on the New Orleans family who exiled her mother when she became impregnated by their son. Posing as a countess raised in France, she joins forces with Montana cowboy Clint Maroon, whose family's property was appropriated by railroad tycoon Bart Van Steed. Clint persuades Clio to seduce Bart into proposing marriage, but the conspirators soon find themselves falling in love while scheming to settle old scores.
The success of the musical adaptation of Ferber's Show Boat convinced her lightning could strike twice. She first approached Rodgers and Hammerstein with her proposal, and when they opted to write Pipe Dream instead, she turned to Lerner and Loewe, who agreed to compose the score but lost interest after My Fair Lady opened. DaCosta wrote a first draft of the book, which Ferber disliked, and when her offer to adapt the book herself was declined, she backed out of the project.
The bulk of the financing was provided by NBC and RCA Victor, which released the original cast recording. Rock Hudson and Jeanmaire originally were announced as the leads, but ultimately neither participated in the show.
The Broadway production, directed by DaCosta and choreographed by Ralph Beaumont, opened on December 7, 1959 at the Winter Garden Theatre, where it ran for 80 performances. The cast included Carol Lawrence as Clio, Howard Keel as Clint, and Warde Donovan as Bart, with Virginia Capers, Odette Myrtil, Carol Brice, and Edith King in supporting roles.
Critics were impressed by the elaborate sets (which included a turntable and fifteen different locales) and the more than two hundred costumes created by Cecil Beaton, who won the Tony Award for Best Costume Design and was nominated for Best Scenic Design. The leads drew good notices, but most agreed that DaCosta's book and direction resulted in a slow-moving, uninvolving production. The main characters were unlikeable, their romance dull, and too many peripheral characters wandered in and out of the action. Show Boat, with its riverboat setting, had been a natural for musical adaptation, and whereas Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern had succeeded in compressing the epic into a lively stage production, the creative team behind Saratoga was unable to wring much excitement from a romantic relationship stemming primarily from a mutual desire for vengeance.Shangri-La (musical)
Shangri-La is a musical with a book and lyrics by James Hilton, Jerome Lawrence, and Robert E. Lee and music by Harry Warren.Based on Hilton's classic 1933 novel Lost Horizon, it focuses on Hugh Conway, a veteran member of the British diplomatic service, who stumbles across a utopian lamasery high in the Himalayas in Tibet after surviving a plane crash in the mountainous terrain. When the dying High Lama asks him to take charge after his death, Conway must decide between embracing the inner peace, love, and sense of purpose he has discovered in this mysterious world or attempt to return to civilization as he knows it.
The Broadway production, directed by Albert Marre and choreographed by Donald Saddler, opened on June 13, 1956 at the Winter Garden Theatre, where it ran for only twenty-one performances. The cast included Dennis King, Shirley Yamaguchi, Jack Cassidy, Alice Ghostley, Carol Lawrence, Berry Kroeger, Harold Lang, and Robert Cohan.
Irene Sharaff was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Costume Design.
An audiotape of the show was recorded live during a performance, but an original cast album never was released. The show was mounted for a 1960 television production as part of the Hallmark Hall of Fame, with several new songs, starring Richard Basehart, Claude Rains, Gene Nelson, Helen Gallagher, and Ghostley reprising her Broadway role.West Side Story
West Side Story is a musical with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. It was inspired by William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet.
The story is set in the Upper West Side neighborhood in New York City in the mid 1950s, an ethnic, blue-collar neighborhood (in the early 1960s, much of the neighborhood was cleared in an urban renewal project for Lincoln Center, which changed the neighborhood's character). The musical explores the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. The members of the Sharks, from Puerto Rico, are taunted by the Jets, a white gang. The young protagonist, Tony, a former member of the Jets and best friend of the gang's leader, Riff, falls in love with Maria, the sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks. The dark theme, sophisticated music, extended dance scenes, and focus on social problems marked a turning point in American musical theatre. Bernstein's score for the musical includes "Jet Song", "Something's Coming", "Maria", "Tonight", "America", "Cool", "One Hand, One Heart", "I Feel Pretty", "Somewhere", "Gee, Officer Krupke" and "A Boy Like That".
The original 1957 Broadway production, conceived, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins and produced by Robert E. Griffith and Harold Prince, marked Sondheim's Broadway debut. It ran for 732 performances before going on tour. The production was nominated for six Tony Awards including Best Musical in 1957, but the award for Best Musical went to Meredith Willson's The Music Man. Robbins won the Tony Award for his choreography and Oliver Smith won for his scenic designs. The show had an even longer-running London production, a number of revivals and international productions. A 1961 musical film adaptation, directed by Robert Wise and Robbins, starred Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn. The film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and won ten, including George Chakiris for Supporting Actor, Rita Moreno for Supporting Actress, and Best Picture.