Barbara Lawrence

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Barbara Lawrence
Barbara Lawrence in Man in the Shadow.jpg
Barbara Jo Lawrence

(1930-02-24)February 24, 1930
DiedNovember 13, 2013(2013-11-13) (aged 83)
Years active1945–1962
(m. 1947; div. 1949)

John Murphy
(m. 1951; div. 1957)

Lester R. Nelson
(m. 1961; div. 1976)
Barbara Lawrence and Eddie Albert in Oklahoma! (1955)

Barbara Jo Lawrence (February 24, 1930 – November 13, 2013) was an American model, actress, and real estate agent.

Early years[edit]

Born to Morris Lawrence and Bernice (née Eaton) Lawrence in Carnegie, Oklahoma,[1] Barbara Jo moved with her mother to Kansas City, Missouri as an adolescent.[citation needed] She won a Tiny Tot beauty contest when she was three years old.[2]


Lawrence's career began as a child photographer's model. She appeared in her first film, Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe (1945), as a night-club patron. A year later, she made a strong impression in her second film at 20th Century-Fox, Margie, in which she played outgoing flapper Maryville. She was featured in the swashbuckler Captain from Castile (1947) with Tyrone Power. While finishing her studies at UCLA,[3] she attracted the attention of talent scouts, and Lawrence was soon featured in a number of additional 20th Century-Fox movies, including You Were Meant for Me, Give My Regards to Broadway, A Letter to Three Wives, The Street with No Name, and Thieves' Highway. At Universal in the early 1950s were Peggy and Here Come the Nelsons.[citation needed] She also was one of the stars of Columbia Pictures' romantic comedy, Paris Model, in 1953.

Upon moving to MGM, Lawrence appeared with Gig Young in the 3D movie Arena (1953) and in Her Twelve Men with Greer Garson. She played the role of Gertie Cummings in the film version of Oklahoma!, in which she gets into a knockdown catfight with Gloria Grahame ("Ado Annie"). She starred in Man with the Gun (1955) that year.[4] In 1956 Lawrence appeared as Lola McQuilan in the western TV series Cheyenne in the episode titled "The Last Train West." In 1957, she starred in Kronos with Jeff Morrow. Although the science-fiction film was not praised by critics at the time, it eventually attracted a cult following for its imaginative storyline and special effects.

Between 1958 and 1962, Lawrence made four guest appearances on the CBS-TV series Perry Mason. In 1958 she played Ellen Waring in "The Half-Wakened Wife", and Gloria Barton in "The Case of the Jilted Jockey." In 1961 she played murderess Lori Stoner in "The Case of the Envious Editor", and in 1962 she played Agnes Theilman in "The Case of the Shapely Shadow".[5]: 46735  In 1958 she guest-starred in Cimarron City (TV series), in the second episode "Terror Town". In 1960, she guest starred as Della Thompson in the Bonanza episode "The Abduction".

Personal life[edit]

In 1947, Lawrence married actor Jeffrey Stone. This was kept secret until June 28, 1947, when Lawrence's mother threw her daughter a church wedding in Beverly Hills,[1] but the marriage ended with a divorce granted on September 28, 1949.[6]

On July 29, 1951, she wed John Murphy; the couple had two children before divorcing in 1957. After marrying Lester R. Nelson in 1961, she had two more children. She made several more television appearances in 1962, then retired from acting altogether. She and Nelson divorced in 1976.[citation needed]

Lawrence died of kidney failure on November 13, 2013, aged 83,[7] in Los Angeles, California, but her death was not reported until January 3, 2014. She was cremated and her ashes scattered in North Carolina where she had a vacation home.[citation needed]


Lawrence has a star at 1735 Vine Street in the Television section of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was dedicated on February 8, 1960.[8]


Year Title Role Notes
1945 Diamond Horseshoe Blonde in Nightclub Uncredited
1946 Margie Marybelle Tenor
1947 Captain from Castile Luisa De Carvajal
1948 You Were Meant for Me Louise Crane
1948 Give My Regards to Broadway June Norwick
1948 The Street with No Name Judy Stiles
1948 Unfaithfully Yours Barbara Henshler
1949 A Letter to Three Wives Babe Finney
1949 Mother Is a Freshman Louise Sharpe
1949 Thieves' Highway Polly Faber
1950 Peggy Susan Brookfield
1951 You Were Meant for Me S.F. (Foxy) Rogers
1952 Here Come the Nelsons Barbara Schutzendorf
1952 The Star Barbara Lawrence
1953 Arena Sylvia Lorgan
1953 Paris Model Marta Jensen
1954 Jesse James vs. the Daltons Kate Manning
1954 Her Twelve Men Barbara Dunning
1955 Oklahoma! Gertie Cummings
1955 Man with the Gun Ann Wakefield
1957 Kronos Vera Hunter
1957 Joe Dakota Myrna Weaver
1957 Man in the Shadow Helen Sadler


  1. ^ a b Ingram, Florence (March 6, 2008). "Barbara Lawrence". Classic Images. Archived from the original on 17 September 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  2. ^ Hale, Wanda (July 16, 1950). "Young Star in Comedy Had Long Screen Career". Daily News. New York, New York City. p. Section Two, p 7ML. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  3. ^ Profile at Archived June 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Clemens, Samuel (2020). Pat: A Biography of Hollywood's Blonde Starlet. Sequoia Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0578682822.
  5. ^ Davidson, Jim (2014). "Index of Perry Mason Actors". The Perry Mason Book: A Comprehensive Guide to America's Favorite Defender of Justice (e-book). ASIN B00OOELV1K.
  6. ^ "Barbara Lawrence Wins Final Divorce Decree". Shamokin News-Dispatch. Pennsylvania, Shamokin. United Press. September 28, 1949. p. 11. Retrieved September 17, 2017 – via open access
  7. ^ "'Oklahoma!' actress Barbara Lawrence dies at age 83". Santa Maria Times. California, Santa Maria. January 5, 2014. p. B6. Retrieved 25 January 2019 – via
  8. ^ "Barbara Lawrence". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on 17 September 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2017.

External links[edit]