Gertrude Lawrence Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trivia (16)

Overview (4)

Born in London, England, UK
Died in New York City, New York, USA  (liver cancer)
Birth NameGertrude Alexandria Dagmar Lawrence-Klasen
Nicknames Gee

Mini Bio (1)

Gertrude Lawrence was born on July 4, 1898 in London, England as Gertrude Alexandria Dagmar Lawrence-Klasen. She was an actress, known for Lord Camber's Ladies (1932), Rembrandt (1936) and The Glass Menagerie (1950). She was married to Richard Aldrich and Francis Gordon-Howley. She died on September 6, 1952 in New York City, New York, USA.

Spouse (2)

Richard Aldrich (4 July 1940 - 6 September 1952) ( her death)
Francis Gordon-Howley (1917 - 1927) ( divorced) ( 1 child)

Trivia (16)

Frequently appeared on stage opposite childhood friend, Sir Noël Coward.
Her last role was as Anna Leonowens in the original Broadway stage production of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's "The King and I". She discovered she had cancer during the early part of the stage run, and died the year after the show opened. One of her last requests was that Yul Brynner, her leading man in the show, be upgraded in the posters and playbills from below to above-the title billing, sharing star billing with whomever would play Anna in other performances.
Entertained allied troops in Europe as part of ENSA during World War II.
Is buried in the pink satin hooped ball gown that she sang "Shall We Dance?" in from the Broadway production of "The King and I".
Gave birth to her only child at age 19, a daughter Pamela Barbara Mary Gordon-Howley on May 28, 1918. Child's father was her 1st husband, Francis Gordon-Howley.
Won Broadway's 1952 Tony Award as Best Actress (Musical) for "The King and I."
Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 347-348. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
The character of Lorraine Sheldon in the Moss Hart / George S. Kaufman play "The Man Who Came to Dinner" (later filmed as The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942), was based on Lawrence.
Portrayed by Julie Andrews in the 1968 biopic, Star! (1968).
Was considered for the role of Margo Channing in All About Eve (1950) after Claudette Colbert was forced to pull out of the project due to back injury. However the part was given to Bette Davis, who went on to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her performance.
Of Danish-Irish ancestry, she started as a child dancer in the pantomime 'Dick Whittington' at the age of ten. Her first major success was in Andre Charlot's Revue at the Times Square Theatre (1924-1925), co-starring Beatrice Lillie and Jack Buchanan.
The Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II New York City Broadway stage hit musical property, also as a film musical, "The King and I", would not have occurred without Gertrude Lawrence's interest in creating a musical property for herself. In 1950, theatrical attorney Fanny Holtzmann was looking for a part for her client, veteran leading lady Gertrude Lawrence. Fanny Holtzmann realized the 1944 novel "Anna and the King of Siam" by Margaret Landon would be an ideal vehicle. Holtzmann and Lawrence purchased the novel to develop into a stage musical play. Gertrude Lawrence's success in "Lady In The Dark" prompted their acquisition of the "Anna and the King of Siam" novel by Margaret Landon. Cole Porter was presented and offered the project as the musical's composer, which Porter turned down. Fanny Holtzmann having lunch with Dorothy Hammerstein related Cole Porter's rejection of Gertrude Lawrence's offer to develop the property. In fact, both Dorothy Rodgers and Dorothy Hammerstein after reading the novel in 1944, had urged their husbands to consider the book as a possible subject for a musical play. After some preliminary discussions, script meetings, breaking down the novel's plot into a musical play form, Rodgers and Hammerstein shelved the idea. Dorothy Hammerstein had known Gertrude Lawrence since 1925, when they had both appeared in "Andre Charlot's London Revue of 1924" on Broadway and on tour in North America. Dorothy Hammerstein, after her luncheon with Fanny Holtzman, pushed her husband Oscar and Richard Rodgers into meetings with Gertrude Lawrence. Due to their previously attempted analysis of the novel, initially reluctant, Rodgers and Hammerstein II agreed to write the musical project and began work. Viewing 1946's Anna and the King of Siam (1946) from Twentieth Century Fox, starring Irene Dunne as Anna, Rex Harrison as King Mongkut, and Linda Darnell as Tuptim, aided in their scene analysis and musical-play formula. Gertrude Lawrence, in her Broadway-negotiation-contract, stipulated that she would star in any film-musical based on any film contract negotiation with the Rodgers and Hammerstein II musical "The King and I". During the Broadway run, a year and a half after the opening, unexpectedly, Gertrude Lawrence was admitted to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, on August 16, where she slipped into a coma and died on September 6, 1952, aged 54. Her autopsy revealing liver cancer. She was buried in the Irene Sharaff designed ball gown she wore during Act 2 - "Shall We Dance".
Noël Coward's nick name for Gertrude Lawrence was "Gertie". Daphne Du Maurier's nick name for Gertrude Lawrence was "Cinders", short for "Cinderella".
Noël Coward and Gertrude Lawrence, each, began their British theatrical professional careers as children at ten years of age. Lawrence, born June 4, 1898 and Noël Coward (December 16, 1899), becoming acquainted in their early London stage appearances. In 1908, Gertrude Lawrence was cast by director Basil Dean, for the Liverpool Repertory Theatre, Gerhart Hauptmann's "Hannele" where Gertrude met Noël. Gertrude, in 1923 at sixteen, Noël Coward developed his first musical review, "London Calling!" specifically for his friend Gertrude Lawrence. Noël Coward wrote his 1931 play "Private Lives" specifically for Gertrude Lawrence. Gertrude Lawrence, with Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II while developing their musical "The King and I", asked Noël to perform the "King of Siam" role in their new musical "The King and I". Noël refused Gertie's offer! Subsequently, Noël told Mary Martin about the proposed role, who then got in the mix, suggesting her former lead actor Yul Brynner in her Broadway musical "Lute Song".
Grandmother of Ben (b. 1955), Sarah (b. 1956) and Thomas Clatworthy (b. 1959), via daughter Pamela.
Eminent London and Broadway musical star who appeared in nine films from 1929 through 1950.

See also

Other Works |  Publicity Listings |  Official Sites

View agent, publicist, legal and company contact details on IMDbPro Pro Name Page Link

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed