Gertrude Lawrence

Gertrude Lawrence

London, City of London, Greater London, England
Death 6 Sep 1952 (aged 54)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Upton, Worcester County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 2481 · View Source
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Actress. Born Gertrud Alexandra Dagmar Lawrence Klasen in London, daughter of a struggling Danish singer and character actor who had taken the pseudonym of Arthur Lawrence and Alice, a middle-class English girl with frustrated theatrical aspirations. Gertrude made her stage début as a singing dancer in the pantomime 'Babes in the Wood' in Brixton in 1908. Until 1926 she worked her way up from the chorus to featured parts on the London stage and then made her Broadway debut in New York in Gershwin's Oh, Kay! establishing herself as a star. She was the first British actress to have a lead role on Broadway and was regarded one of the foremost comedians of her time, capable of playing both slapstick clowns and elegant ladies. Her great charisma is attested to by those who saw her on stage. Plays and revues followed in both England and the USA, and she made her film debut in The Battle Of Paris for Paramount during 1929. She was linked romantically with Douglas Fairbanks but married American theatre owner Richard Aldrich. In 1949 Lawrence read a book called Anna and the King of Siam, which she thought would make a perfect musical. She then persuaded the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein to write it for her. The result was The King and I. The King and I opened on Broadway in 1951 with Lawrence in the role of Anna and was her greatest success. She won the 1952 Tony Award for Best Actress. Shortly thereafter, Lawrence died of cancer in New York. She was buried in Lakeview Cemetery, in Upton, Massachusetts wearing her pink "Shall We Dance?" gown from the second act of The King and I.

Bio by: Iola

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 2481
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Gertrude Lawrence (4 Jul 1898–6 Sep 1952), Find a Grave Memorial no. 2481, citing Lakeview Cemetery, Upton, Worcester County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .