VICKI! by Vicki Lawrence


The True-Life Adventures of Miss Fireball
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 A surprisingly charmless memoir by the longtime Carol Burnett Show costar and recent talk show host. The story of Lawrence's big break is a quintessential show-biz fairy tale. As a high school student, she sent a fan letter to Carol Burnett noting that everyone always commented on her resemblance to the actress. On a whim, Burnett came to see Lawrence in a Fireman's Ball beauty contest and eventually offered the 18- year-old a job on her new television variety program. Over The Carol Burnett Show's 11-year run, the hard-working Lawrence became a skillful supporting player and created at least one characterization--Mama in the ``Family'' sketches--that can justifiably be called classic. Given the rare good luck Lawrence generally encountered, it is particularly strange to find a large streak of anger and tell-all nastiness in her autobiography. She is especially bitter about her parents and sister, whom she savages at Roseanne-like length. Her mother's cruelty, her father's weakness, her sister's jealousy--the list goes on and on. But she also snipes at many co-workers, including Harvey Korman, whom she first praises for teaching her all she knows about comedy, then denigrates as a hopeless neurotic who was almost impossible to work with (she even notes in a superfluous aside that his wife had an affair with New York City Ballet dancer Edward Villella). Lawrence does have some kind words for a few--most notably Al Shultz, her husband of many years, and Burnett, who is otherwise a shadowy presence here--but a section at the book's close praising people she cares about seems too little, too late. The book is dedicated to Lawrence's fans, who may be startled by the woman they discover within. (32 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-684-80286-4
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1995


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