Sharon Lawrence has the depth and passion needed for a long-running drama, the range and timing to land her own comedy series, the verve to star in high-profile theatre productions, and the vision to produce her own films. The result has been a wide and multi-textured career.
Sharon starred as v. Cates in the weekly CBS series Wolf Lake. She commutes from Los Angeles to Vancouver where the one-hour drama - which also stars Lou Diamond Phillips and Tim Matheson - is filmed. Executive produced by Alex Gansa and Rick Kellard (the X Files, Maximum Bob), the series (described as The Sopranos with fangs!) takes place in an enormous Pacific Northwest town whose most prominent citizens are "shapshifters" that transform themselves into wolves each struggling to become the Alpha (leader) wolf. Sharon plays the show's sexy and determined Alpha female – a multi-layered role to be sure.
Earlier this year, Sharon completed principal photography in New Zealand for a film which she stars Atomic Twister. Sharon is an avid traveler and took advantage of her time "down under" to travel and enjoy the native offerings.
As co-star of the two-season CBS comedy, Ladies Man, she played opposite Alfred Molina as his spouse, Donna Stiles, a complex wife, mom, step mom and daughter-in-law. On Ladies Man, Sharon was a member of one of the most seasoned casts on primetime television, which included Betty White and Stephen Roof, and she gave a performance that required many disciplines acquired during a career that has spanned every genre from musical comedy to serious drama.
On hiatus from her first season of Ladies Man in 2000, Sharon starred as Velma Kelly, the sexy murderess, in the smash hit Broadway musical Chicago at the Shubert Theatre. This marked Sharon's first appearance on a Broadway stage since becoming famous for creating an indelible character, Sylvia Costas Sipowicz, on NYPD Blue, in 1993.
Sharon garnered a Screen Actor's Guild Award and three Emmy Award Nominations for Best Supporting Actress on the multiple Emmy Award winning ABC drama series while portraying Sylvia, the compassionate and headstrong District Attorney who falls in love with, and marries, Detective Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz).
Her comedic guest turn as a high-strung, chain-smoking headhunter on the NBC hit comedy Caroline In The City in the 1995-1996 season was so well-received that it generated an all-network bidding war which resulted in an overall NBC deal for Sharon. This resulted in her starring in the NBC sitcom Fired Up and made her one of the few actresses in 1997 to be featured in two prime-time series – one drama, and one comedy – on competing networks. Sharon also starred with Diane Keaton, San Shepard and Diane Lane in the feature film The Only Thrill, a heartfelt drama about a love affair that spans three decades. Her most recent feature film appearance was in the Warner Brothers-released Gossip starring Kate Hudson.
In 1997, Sharon produced her first television film for NBC, Five Desperate Hours, in which she also starred opposite Giancarlo Esposito. The telefilm, based on actual events, featured Sharon as a woman who ultimately saves the life of a man holding her hostage. Her additional credits include the television films, A Face on the Milk Carton opposite Jill Clayburgh (CBS), Degree of Guilt with David James Elliot (NCS), A Friend's Betrayal with Brian Austin Green (NBC), The Uninvited with Beau Bridges (CBS) and Blue Moon with Richard Kiley and Kim Hunter, which aired on CBS in the spring of 1999. In November, 1999, Sharon so-starred in the Hallmark Entertainment-produced Aftershock: Earthquake in New York for CBS with Tom Skerritt, Cicely Tyson and Lisa Nicole Carson.
Born and raised in Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, Sharon began her career as a singer and dancer. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in musical theatre where she appeared on stage in the record-breaking revivals of Zorba with Anthony Quinn, Cabaret with Joel Grey and Fiddler of the Roof with Chaim Topol.
An early indication of Sharon's slapstick abilities – later seen in a famous episode of Fired Up where she first tangoed with and then wrestled an electric floor polisher to the ground – came during the run of Cabaret. In the middle of one matinee, Sharon literally danced of the lip of the stage into the audience, exited up the aisle, ran around the theatre, and danced back onstage from the wings without missing a beat!
Sharon also starred with Tony Award-winning actress Cherry Jones at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in Tongue of a Bird by Ellen McLaughlin, which moved to New York and enjoyed a limited sold-out run at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre in April, 1999. Other theatre credits include Fire in the Rain (Mark Taper Forum), The Seagull and The Homecoming (L.A. Theatre Critics Award, Best Actress), both at the Matrix Theatre Company.
Sharon devotes much of her time to non-profit work for organizations like the Alzheimer's Association and the Earth Communications Office. She serves at the national spokesperson for PADI (the Professional Association of Dive Instructors) and is also a board member of the Creative Coalition a non-partisan politically advocacy group run by the entertainment industry working towards promoting arts in the education systems, protecting the national endowment for arts and supporting the first amendment. Sharon was also one of the hosts of the 1999 Special Olympics' World Games in her hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina.
Sharon leads a full life of adventure and excitement. Witness her two African safaris, and ABC Special Touched by a Dolphin for which she had to learn to scuba dive, and the demonstration of her rock-climbing skills in Aftershock: Earthquake in New York. She makes time to keep in shape with daily yoga classes, spinning and Pilates instruction.
Sharon embraces life with the gusto of a young girl who grew up in the south, won the title of Raleigh's Junior Miss as a teen and yearned to broaden her horizons. Forever curious, easily moved and frequently surprised by life's pleasant turns, Sharon Lawrence has the kind of passion that will sustain her career for years to come.