Vicki Lawrence claims she was denied equal pay in “Carol Burnett”
Vicki Lawrence claims she was denied equal pay on “The Carol Burnett Show” because she was not a man with a family to support.
Lawrence – who created the iconic “Mama” character – told Page Six that in the show’s fifth season in the early ’70s, she approached executive producer Joe Hamilton asking for more money.
“I said, ‘I think I deserve to do at least what Lyle [Waggoner] done because I feel like I weigh a lot on the show, ”the actress told us. Joe looked at me with a straight face, didn’t miss a beat and said, ‘Vicki, Lyle is a man with a family to support. “”
Lawrence, 72, said at the time that she agreed and recalled thinking it was a “perfectly legitimate” response.
“When women think that maybe things haven’t changed, I say, ‘Yes, things have changed. It’s slow, but they’re changing, ”she told Page Six.
Ironically, Lawrence – whose character launched a six-season spin-off titled “Mama’s Family” from 1983 to 1990 – met her future husband, makeup artist Al Schultz, a few years later on “The Carol Burnett Show”. The couple married in 1974 and had two children.
Although she doesn’t get the same salary as her male co-star, Lawrence said the show is the best school for learning comedy and that her casting story is a Hollywood script in itself.
Lawrence had just graduated from high school when his mother suggested he write a fan letter to Burnett, noting their strong physical appearance.
Burnett, who was casually looking for an actress to play his younger sister on his next show, searched for Lawrence’s family in the phone book and contacted them to audition for the role. Lawrence later learned that CBS executives approached Burnett with concerns about the cast.
“They said to her, ‘Do you think maybe we should have an actress, a pretty little actress? Because Vicki is very, very rude, ”recalls Lawrence. “And Carol said, ‘You guys listen to me, she’s a diamond in the rough. And we cling to it.
These days, Lawrence is traveling the country with his one-woman show, which is a mix of showbiz reminiscences, then a quick costume change to the beloved “Mama”.
Lawrence says she has noticed that “The Carol Burnett Show” and “Mama’s Family” are now more popular than ever, receiving more fan mail last year than she has received in her entire career. She thinks it’s because the shows take people back to more peaceful and less confrontational times.
“You know, you’re in another era,” Lawrence explained. “Just silly and just laughing, there just aren’t a lot of things like that anymore.”