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 Lawrence 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, Lawrence sent Carol Burnett a letter including a local newspaper article mentioning their resemblance. Lawrence invited Burnett to the local fire department’s "Miss Fireball Contest" in which she was performing. Burnett, looking for an actress to play her kid sister on her new variety series, contacted Lawrence and made arrangements to come to the event, and the rest is television history. "The Carol Burnett Show" premiered in the fall of 1967; the same year Lawrence entered University of California Los Angeles to study theater arts. She spent eleven years with Burnett, earning one Emmy® Award and five Emmy® nominations.
After the Burnett show ended, Lawrence 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. Shortly thereafter, Lawrence became one of the few successful female game show hosts when she took on the daytime network-version of "Win, Lose or Draw." Lawrence 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, Lawrence 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. Most recently she appeared in The Vagina Monologues.
In addition to acting and hosting, Lawrence is also an accomplished author and singer. In 1995 Simon and Schuster published her autobiography, Vicki!: The True Life Adventures of Miss Fireball, and Mama for President: Good Lord, Why Not? written by Vicki Lawrence and Monty Aidem as told by Thelma "Mama" Harper was published in 2008. In 1973, Lawrence received a gold record as a recording artist for her international hit single, "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia."
Since 2002, Lawrence has spent much of her time on the road with her stage production Vicki Lawrence and Mama, A Two Woman Show. 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. Lawrence’s efforts to protect women’s rights were recognized in 1988 when she was the first woman to be honored as "Person of the Year" by the Coalition of Labor Union Women. Lawrence works with the Humane Society, and has worked with the American Heart Association on their "Go Red for Women" campaign. She hosts the annual "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, Lawrence married the head of CBS make-up, Al Schultz, and they have two grown children, Courtney and Garrett. They live at the beach with their two dogs. In their spare time, Lawrence and her husband enjoy yacht racing, and own a 70-foot sloop named "Vicki."