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Eddie  Lawrence

Eddie Lawrence first appeared in New York at the Radio City Music Hall where he did his act, a wild conglomeration of non-sequiters including an impersonation of Ronald Colman being held up in Greenwich Village, Charles Boyer broadcasting the Louis-Schmeling fight and a weepy, Jolson-like character known as Sentimental Max who later developed into the now famous “Old Philosopher.” Afterwards, he was engaged by the Roxy, only a block away, to write and direct comedy sketches between film screenings.

War broke out and Eddie went into the medical corps. While serving in a field hospital in North Africa he was spotted by Major Andre Baruch during his appendectomy. He’d remembered Eddie from a variety show in New York and got him transferred to the American Expeditionary Stations where Lawrence wrote and directed a series of live shows for American and British troops featuring Ella Logan, Humphrey Bogart, Annabella, John Marley, Bruce Cabot, Leo Durocher and Field Marshall Alexander.

Back in the U.S. he teamed up with Marley in the popular radio show “Lawrence and Marley,” a forerunner of “Laugh-In,” “The Carol Burnett Show” and even “Monty Python.” They were wild. Eddie introduced “The Old Philosopher” character on the Steve Allen Sunday Show and NBC surrounded him with a staff of eight, including Woody Allen, marking him for “development.”

After hanging around for months, Lawrence escaped to Paris and remained there for five years. He wrote the French film, The Ladies and the Men, and three one-act plays. They were produced at the Provincetown Playhouse while he stayed on in Paris, and received enthusiastic notices. He also studied painting, his first profession, with the French master Fernand Leger and appeared in several motion pictures.

He returned to America to write a series of comedy shorts for Paramount and Victor Borge’s television show. He also wrote for Bert Lahr, Jack E. Leonard and Sid Caesar.

Eddie recorded nine record albums and is featured along with Nichols and May, Mel Brooks and Lennie Bruce on Warner’s Twenty-Five Years of Comedy. He appeared on the Johnny Carson Show forty times. On Broadway he created the role of Sandor the Bookie in Bells are Ringing, starring Judy Holliday, and played Banjo in Sherry, the musical version of The Man Who Came to Dinner. He also appeared in The Threepenny Opera during the legendary seven-year run at the De Lys Theatre.

Among his film roles are Scratch Wallace in The Night They Raided Minsky’s, Eric Von Stroheim in The Wild Party, and assorted wisecracking GI’s in French films.

Mr. Lawrence wrote the original Book and Lyrics for Kelly, the controversial musical of the ‘60s. He likes to stress the word “original” because of the merciless, unauthorized reworking of the show during the out-of-town tryout. It pleases him to no end that the record album of the original Kelly score as sung by the composer, Moose Charlap, and Eddie, and recorded for the most part in Charlap’s den, now graces the windows of the major record shops.

Mr. Lawrence is married to the Australian designer, Marilyn Bligh-White. They have a son, Garrett.

Lawrence’s musical based on the life of Paul Gaugin, The Expressionist, with music by Mr. Charlap, has been optioned. His plays, Louis and the Elephant, Sort of an Adventure and The Beautiful Mariposa, have been produced on and off Broadway. The Natives were Restless is a play about Paris and some of the ex-GI’s who stayed on. A Nose for a Nose is a farce – very contemporary. Lawrence did a nightly newscast from a hut near Caserta, Italy in 1945. It was the only news in English that came in loud and clear in Yalta. One night, Mr. Churchill lit up his after-dinner cigar and beckoned to Mr. Roosevelt, mumbling, “Well, let’s see what Sergeant Lawrence has to say to us tonight.” There were witnesses.

Titles By: Eddie Lawrence

57 Original Auditions for Actors