Carol Lawrence
Carol Lawrence.JPG
Lawrence in a scene from the
General Electric Theater episode
"The Iron Silence" (1961)
Carolina Maria Laraia

(1932-09-05) September 5, 1932 (age 89)
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1952-2018
Cosmo Allegretti
(m. 1956; div. 1959)

(m. 1963; div. 1981)

John Gregory Guydus
(m. 1982; div. 1983)

Carol Lawrence (born Carolina Maria Laraia; September 5, 1932) is an American actress, appearing in musical theatre and on television. She is known for creating the role of 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 appeared at The Muny, St. Louis, in several musicals, including Funny Girl. She also appeared in many television dramas, including Rawhide and Murder She Wrote. She was married to fellow performer Robert Goulet.


Early years

Born Carolina Maria Laraia on September 5, 1932,[1] in Melrose Park, Illinois, her parents were of Italian ancestry.[2] Her father was born in Trivigno, in the province of Potenza, and her maternal family came from the same town.[3] Laraia graduated from Proviso Township High School, in Maywood, Illinois. She spent one year at Northwestern University and then left to pursue her career.[1]


Larry Kert and Carol Lawrence in the balcony scene of West Side Story, original Broadway cast (1957)
Larry Kert and Carol Lawrence in the balcony scene of West Side Story, original Broadway cast (1957)

Lawrence made her Broadway debut in 1952 in Leonard Sillman's New Faces of 1952.[4] She achieved success in the role of Maria in the original Broadway production of West Side Story in 1957,[4] for which she received a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical nomination, losing to Barbara Cook (The Music Man).[4] She played the role for two years, and after an appearance in the short-lived show Saratoga in 1959[4] 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).[1][4]

She made a few record albums of standards and showtunes including Tonight at 8:30 (1960), where she sang studio versions of the songs "Tonight", and "Something's Coming", both from West Side Story.

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),[5] 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),[6] Guenevere in Camelot (opposite husband Robert Goulet),[1] Do I Hear a Waltz? at the Pasadena Playhouse (2001),[7] and Follies at the Wadsworth Theatre in Los Angeles in 2002.[8]

Her television performances include a guest role in Breaking Point (as Evelyn Denner in the 1963 episode titled "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; The Big Valley; Hawaii 5-0; Marcus Welby, M.D.; Medical Center; Kung Fu; Mannix; Murder, She Wrote; Saved by the Bell; and Sex and the City.[9]

From 1991 to 1993, she played the role of matriarch Angela Eckart on General Hospital.[9] 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.[9]

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.[10] In 2013, she appeared Off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre Downstairs in Jason Odell Williams's play Handle with Care.[11]

Lawrence has written her autobiography, with Phyllis Hobe, titled Carol Lawrence: The Backstage Story, published in 1990.[2]


Personal life

Lawrence (center) next to John F. Kennedy at the White House, two days before Kennedy's assassination
Lawrence (center) next to John F. Kennedy at the White House, two days before Kennedy's assassination

Lawrence married three times:

Lawrence and Goulet married while both were Broadway stars; their romance was treated in the press like a fairy-tale. In her 1990 book Carol Lawrence: The Backstage Story, she accused Goulet of having alcoholism and being an abusive husband and father.[16]

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 Adler, and Sidney Salomon on a visit with President John F. Kennedy at The White House on November 20, 1963; two days before his assassination.[17]

Lawrence is Presbyterian and a member of the Bel Air Presbyterian Church.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d "Carol Lawrence". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 29, 2021. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Carol Lawrence: The Backstage Story McGraw-Hill, 1990, p.10, ISBN 0070367248
  3. ^ Katz, Bobbie. "The Katz Meow - Carol Lawrence". Archived from the original on September 1, 2007. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Carol Lawrence Credits" Playbill, accessed April 24, 2015
  5. ^ " Funny Girl MUNY", accessed April 24, 2015
  6. ^ Carol Lawrence Coaxes the Blues Right Out of the Horn", June 19, 2000
  7. ^ "Do I Hear A Waltz Photos", accessed April 24, 2015
  8. ^ Johnson, Reed. "'Follies' Remains Marvelous Contradiction" Los Angeles Times, June 18, 2002
  9. ^ a b c "Carol Lawrence", accessed April 25, 2015
  10. ^ That Championship Season Turner Classic Movies, accessed April 24, 2015
  11. ^ Purcell, Carey. " 'Handle With Care', Starring Tony Nominee Carol Lawrence, Ends Run at the Westside March 9" Playbill, March 9, 2014
  12. ^ Barnes, Mike. "'Captain Kangaroo's' Cosmo Allegretti Dies at 86" The Hollywood Reporter, August 8, 2013
  13. ^ "Carol Lawrence Sues For Divorce". Eugene Register-Guard. June 19, 1980. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
  14. ^ Thomas, Bob (July 2, 1963). "Goulet Tells How He Met Carol". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
  15. ^ Krebs, Albin and Thomas, Robert McG. "Notes On People; Carol Lawrence Reweds" The New York Times, March 9, 1982
  16. ^ Witchel, Alex (May 23, 1993). "Happy Ever After in Camelot". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  17. ^ "Visit of Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman John Bailey, Lena Horne, Carol Lawrence, Richard Adler, Sidney Salomon, Vice-Chairwoman of the DNC Margaret B. Price, and Secretary of the DNC Dorothy Vredenburgh Bush, 11:30AM - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum". Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  18. ^ "Robert Goulet, Las Vegas Lancelot". Washington Post. August 28, 1990.