Barbara Lawrence (Barbara Jo Lawrence)

Barbara Lawrence

Born to Morris Lawrence and Berniece (or Bernice) Eaton Lawrence in Carnegie, Oklahoma, Barbara Lawrence moved with her mother to Kansas City, Missouri as an adolescent. 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 Marybelle. She was featured in the swashbuckler, Captain from Castile (1947) with Tyrone Power. While finishing her studies at UCLA, 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. Upon moving to MGM, Lawrence appeared with Gig Young in the 3D movie, Arena 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”). In 1957, she starred in Kronos with Jeff Morrow. Although the 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 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 a murderess in “The Case of the Envious Editor”, and in 1962 she played Agnes Theilman in “The Case of the Shapely Shadow”.

In January 1947, she married John Forrest Fontaine, an actor known professionally as Jeffrey Stone. This was kept secret until June 28, 1947, when Lawrence’s mother threw her daughter a church wedding in Beverly Hills, but the marriage ended a year and a half later, in 1948. In 1951, she wed Johnny 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. Barbara Lawrence has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Barbara Lawrence died of kidney failure on November 13, 2013, aged 83, in Los Angeles, California, but her death was not reported until January 3, 2014.

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  • February, 24, 1930
  • USA
  • Carnegie, Oklahoma


  • November, 13, 2013
  • USA
  • Los Angeles, California

Cause of Death

  • kidney failure


  • Cremated

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