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Stephanie Lawrence

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Stephanie Lawrence

Lawrence as Pearl in the original cast of Starlight Express, 1984
Stephanie Lawrence (16 December 1949 – 4 November 2000) was a British musical theatre actress.

Background

Stephanie Lawrence was born in Newcastle, the daughter of a singer and classically trained dancer. She moved to Hayling Island at the age of four. From an early age she was close friends with another famous Islander, Peter Chilvers, who in 1958 invented the windsurfer. Having trained at the Bubbling Brown Sugar. In 1979 Hal Prince chose Stephanie to take over the role of Eva Peron in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita from Marti Webb. The same year she recorded a duet with Johnny Mathis called "You Saved My Life" featured on his Columbia Records album "Mathis Magic".

She left Evita to create the title role of Marilyn Monroe in Marilyn! the Musical, which won her outstanding reviews and the Best Actress of the Year Award from the Royal Variety Club of Great Britain as well as a nomination from the Society of West End Theatre Awards (now the Olivier Awards). Marilyn was followed by the part of Pearl in the original London production of Starlight Express. In 1986 Stephanie took on her first dramatic part as Doris in The Owl and the Pussycat touring with Peter Davison. Soon after this she appeared at Oslo International Cabaret in her one woman show. Stephanie next appeared in a musical version of The Blue Angel at the Bristol Old Vic. She played the character of Lola-Lola, made famous by Marlene Dietrich in the movie of the same name.

In 1987 Stephanie took on the part of Louise in the musical Time written by Dave Clark. During her run in Time Stephanie was chosen to play the part of Frannie in the movie Buster alongside Phil Collins, Julie Walters and Larry Lamb. Directly after her run in Time Stephanie took on the role of Kate/Lili Vanessi in the RSC production of Kiss Me Kate at the Savoy Theatre. Christmas of 1988/1989 saw Stephanie playing the part of Cinderella in the classic pantomime with Lionel Blair as Buttons. In 1990 Stephanie toured once again, this time as The Woman of the World in the musical Blues in the Night.

In 1990, Stephanie Lawrence took the role of Mrs. Johnstone in the revival of Willy Russell's Blood Brothers. She played the role for three years at The Albery Theatre in London before moving to fill the role at the Music Box Theatre in New York (1993) where she was nominated for a Tony Award and won the Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut. Stephanie would play the part of Mrs Johnstone on and off for the next few years. Her last major part in the West End was as Grizabella in Cats. Lawrence's other film credits include The Likely Lads (1976) and the role of Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera (1989).

Death

Stephanie Lawrence died on 4 November 2000, after being found by her husband Laurie Sautereau at their London home, aged 50, from "alcoholic liver disease", as stated on her death certificate.

Recordings

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