Barbara Lawrence

Barbara Jo Lawrence (February 24, 1930 – November 13, 2013) was an American model, actress, and real estate agent.

Barbara Lawrence
Barbara Jo Lawrence

(1930-02-24)February 24, 1930
DiedNovember 13, 2013(2013-11-13) (aged 83)
Years active1945–1962
Jeffrey Stone
(m. 1947; div. 1949)

John Murphy
(m. 1951; div. 1957)

Lester R. Nelson
(m. 1961; div. 1976)

Early years

Born to Morris Lawrence and Berniece (or Bernice) Eaton Lawrence in Carnegie, Oklahoma,[1] Barbara Jo moved with her mother to Kansas City, Missouri as an adolescent. She won a Tiny Tot beauty contest when she was three years old.[2]


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 Maryville. She was featured in the swashbuckler Captain from Castile (1947) with Tyrone Power. While finishing her studies at UCLA,[3] 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. She also was one of the stars of Columbia Pictures' romantic comedy, Paris Model, in 1953.

Upon moving to MGM, Lawrence appeared with Gig Young in the 3D movie Arena (1953) 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 1956 Lawrence appeared as Lola McQuilan in the western TV series Cheyenne in the episode titled "The Last Train West." In 1957, she starred in Kronos with Jeff Morrow. Although the science-fiction 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".

Personal life

In 1947, Lawrence 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,[1] but the marriage ended with a divorce granted on September 28, 1949.[4]

On July 29, 1951, she wed John 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 died of kidney failure on November 13, 2013, aged 83,[5] in Los Angeles, California, but her death was not reported until January 3, 2014. She was cremated and her ashes scattered in North Carolina where she had a vacation home.


Lawrence has a star at 1735 Vine Street in the Television section of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was dedicated on February 8, 1960.[6]


Year Title Role Notes
1945Diamond HorseshoeBlonde in NightclubUncredited
1946MargieMarybelle Tenor
1947Captain from CastileLuisa De Carvajal
1948You Were Meant for MeLouise Crane
1948Give My Regards to BroadwayJune Norwick
1948The Street with No NameJudy Stiles
1948Unfaithfully YoursBarbara Henshler
1949A Letter to Three WivesBabe Finney
1949Mother Is a FreshmanLouise Sharpe
1949Thieves' HighwayPolly Faber
1950PeggySusan Brookfield
1951You Were Meant for MeS.F. (Foxy) Rogers
1952Here Come the NelsonsBarbara Schutzendorf
1952The StarBarbara Lawrence
1953ArenaSylvia Lorgan
1953Paris ModelMarta Jensen
1954Jesse James vs. the DaltonsKate Manning
1954Her Twelve MenBarbara Dunning
1955Oklahoma!Gertie Cummings
1955Man with the GunAnn Wakefield
1957KronosVera Hunter
1957Joe DakotaMyrna Weaver
1957Man in the ShadowHelen Sadler


  1. Ingram, Florence (March 6, 2008). "Barbara Lawrence". Classic Images. Archived from the original on 17 September 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  2. Hale, Wanda (July 16, 1950). "Young Star in Comedy Had Long Screen Career". Daily News. New York, New York City. p. Section Two, p 7ML. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  3. Profile at Archived June 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  4. "Barbara Lawrence Wins Final Divorce Decree". Shamokin News-Dispatch. Pennsylvania, Shamokin. United Press. September 28, 1949. p. 11. Retrieved September 17, 2017 via
  5. "'Oklahoma!' actress Barbara Lawrence dies at age 83". Santa Maria Times. California, Santa Maria. January 5, 2014. p. B6. Retrieved 25 January 2019 via
  6. "Barbara Lawrence". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on 17 September 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
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