Carol Lawrence

Carol Lawrence


9/5/1932, Melrose Park, Illinois, USA

Birth Name

Carolina Maria Laraia


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An actress, singer and dancer, Carol Lawrence created the role of Maria in the original Broadway production of West Side Story. She has performed on stage in many musicals from Broadway to Los Angeles. Carol is equally at home on the small screen, making numerous appearances over the…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Carol is the national spokesperson for the organization Opening Minds Through the Arts (OMA).

    • In October 2009 Carol was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, a group that assists young people studying for the opera.

    • Carol won the "Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year" award from Harvard University in 1960.

    • During the 1970s and 1980s Carol starred in several television movies, including The Centerfold Murders, Stranger in Our House and Valley of the Dolls.

    • Carol made her Broadway debut in the chorus of a musical revue called Borscht Capades.

    • Carol has been associated with World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, since she co-hosted their telethons in the 1970s. She has traveled to Africa many times as a representative of the charity.

    • In 1968 Carol starred in a television production of the musical Kiss Me, Kate, co-starring her husband at the time, Robert Goulet.

    • Carol won a Grammy award in 1977 for "Best Inspirational Performance," for her gospel album, "Tell All the World About Love."

    • In 2002 Carol won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Award in the category, "Best Lead Performance" for her role in Amy's View.

    • Carol and her West Side Story costar, Larry Kert, reunited in a cabaret show in 1990, 33 years after they created the roles of Maria and Tony in Broadway's West Side Story.

    • Carol's autobiography, Carol Lawrence: The Backstage Story, was published by McGraw-Hill in 1990.

    • Carol published a cookbook titled I Remember Pasta: A Celebration of Food, Family, and Friends in 1996. Two years later the book set a new sales record for cookbook sales on the Home Shopping Network.

    • Carol has presented a tribute to Leonard Bernstein on stage and on university campuses. The presentation, called "Love Letter to Lenny," includes photos, recordings, personal stories and songs.

    • After performing in many New York stage productions during the 1950s and 1960s, Carol returned to the Broadway stage in 1993 in Kiss of the Spider Woman.

    • In 1958 Carol Lawrence was nominated for Broadway's Tony Award, and won the Theater World Award for her role as Maria in West Side Story.

    • Carol was the first recipient of a Star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame in the "Live Theater" category.

    • Carol was married in 1956 to Cosmo Allegretti, a puppeteer. She married actor and singer Robert Goulet on August 12, 1963. They have two sons together, Christopher and Michael. The couple divorced in 1981. Carol married Greg Guydus, a businessman, in 1982. They divorced in 1983.

  • Quotes

    • Carol Lawrence: (when asked for advice for performers just starting out) Have a great attitude. Keep the hope and the joy. Have the dedication and the passion. You have to work harder then you have ever worked in your life. You have to be dedicated to Dance, Singing and acting. West Side Story created the Triple threat and you have to have a combination all three. It all comes down to hard work as many will find out that if you don't work hard, have the passion and the dedication then a pretty face isn't going to get you anywhere. You have to keep your faith and look to a higher power and never ever give up.

    • Carol Lawrence: (on her thirteenth callback audition for West Side Story) Jerry [Jerome Robbins, the director] told Larry [Kert, who played Tony] to go offstage, so he couldn't hear. Then he told me to hide. He said that Larry would sing Maria, and, if he could find me, we'd do the balcony scene. There was a little iron platform that jutted out from a brick wall [onstage]. I climbed a rickety ladder and knelt on all fours. Larry sang, but he didn't see me. I whispered, "Tony." He whipped around and leapt -- like Spider Man. We clung to each other and did the whole balcony scene. And Lenny said, "That was the most mesmerizing auditions I've ever seen. You've got it!"

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  • Dance

    Danceing the night away !! What's new ?? It is amazing to see someone after so many days. How have you been ? Just finished watching the oscars and could not help but look at the marvelous choregraphy. Made me think of how hard it is to get everyone to move together so well. I'm not a disciplined dancer; but still can improve to the music. Send a note, kid. You have your grace and elegance. The costumeing was lovely for the oscar dancer's. I cost-estimated the theater ; but have not actually been in it. It astounded me to see the Illinois reference. We now have a place there. Bye for now; Garymoreless
  • Carol Lawrence at Leisure World, Seal Beach, CA 6/14/07

    Carol Lawrence was at Leisure World, Seal Beach, California, last night. She was wonderful. Anyone that can keep the very old senior citizen up past 9PM is the best!!! Carol is still a very beautiful & talented woman. Her son, Chris, was also very good. I have been at Leisure World for 2 years, now, and this was the first show I have been to, that everyone stayed to the very end!!! The music and jokes were great. She kept us wanting more. Carol, we appreciate your taking the time to come out to entertain the old!!! I am only 70, but there were a lot of people there in their 80's plus!!! Usually, the theatre starts to empty between 8:30 and 9PM. Not last night!! Thank you, Carol. You and your sons are marvelous!!!moreless