Barbara Lawrence

Barbara Lawrence
Universal Pictures


Barbara Lawrence
TV: West side of the 1700 block of Vine Street
Born Barbara Jo Lawrence on Feb. 24, 1930 in Carnegie, Okla.
Died Nov. 13, 2013 of kidney failure

Barbara Lawrence appeared in her first film, 1945's "Diamond Horseshoe," at just 15. The experience sparked her interest in Hollywood, and Lawrence chose to attend UCLA, where she caught the eye of talent scouts from 20th Century Fox and ultimately signed a contract.

Lawrence had roles in "A Letter to Three Wives," "The Street With No Name," "Thieves' Highway" and "Here Come the Nelsons." After her Fox contract expired, Lawrence signed with MGM. She appeared in "Arena," a 3-D movie, a technical feat at the time.

In 1951, Lawrence married Johnny Murphy. The couple had two children together, and Lawrence enjoyed the peak of her acting career during their marriage. Her most notable role was Gertie Cummings, a flirtatious girl with a memorably grating laugh, in the film version of "Oklahoma!" in 1955. Two years later, Lawrence divorced Murphy.

After "Oklahoma!" Lawrence appeared in only four more films. She turned her focus to television, making guest appearances on "Four Star Playhouse," "Riverboat," "The Man From Blackhawk" and "Perry Mason."

Lawrence married Lester R. Nelson in 1961 and spent some time living in South America. The marriage produced two more children. Her 1962 role as Sadie Wren in an episode of "The Tall Man" was Lawrence's last acting job. She retired that year, instead getting her real estate license and beginning to practice her trade in Beverly Hills. She also wrote a novel, "Welcome to the Jungle," a fictitious tale inspired by her experience in South America.

Lawrence died Nov. 13, 2013, of kidney failure. She was 83.

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