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. In 1995 Simon and Schuster published her story. Her autobiography is entitled, “Vicki!: The True Life Adventures of Miss Fireball.”
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 her 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. The show still can be seen daily throughout most of the country.
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. She received critical acclaim when she was the only talk show host since Oprah to be nominated for a Daytime Emmy in her freshman year. 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,” and “My Fat Friend.” Most recently she appeared in the “Vagina Monologues.”
Vicki 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!” She also can be seen across the country in her stage production: “Vicki Lawrence and Mama, A Two Woman Show.”