Album:West Side Story: Original Broadway Cast
Carol Lawrence is best known for playing Maria in the original 1957 Broadway production of West Side Story. She was nominated for a Tony award. She probably would have been a bigger star if she had appeared in the film version of West Side Story. But she didn't. Instead she married Robert Goulet and moved to Los Angeles and appeared a lot on TV. She was born Carol Maria Lauria Sept. 5, 1932 in the Chicago suburb of Melrose Park, IL. She made her Broadway debut in the 1952 show Leonard Sillman's New Faces of 1952. She appeared in the Ziegfield Follies of 1957 before she was cast in West Side Story. The show was a huge success. When it came time to cast the film of West Side Story, the producers decided they needed a movie star to play Maria and so they chose Natalie Wood. They didn't care that Natalie couldn't sing and had to be dubbed by Marni Nixon. Obviously Carol would have been great in the film. Carol appeared in a couple of short lived shows. Then she married Robert Goulet in 1963 and moved to Los Angeles. Though she returned to Broadway for long runs in the 1966 show I Do! I Do! and the 1993 show Kiss of the Spider Woman, Carol did a lot of regional theater, sang in clubs and appeared a lot on TV. Most of these TV appearances were guest shots. I don't think she ever starred in a series but she was a regular on the daytime soap General Hospital in the early 90s. She made multiple appearances on Run For Your Life, Saved By The Bell, Valley Of The Dolls and Murder She Wrote. Carol's most recent TV appearance was in Sex In The City in 2000. So I would say she is retired. Carol wrote her autobiography The Backstage Story and successfully sold a cookbook on Home Shopping Network. Though Carol Lawrence always kept busy performing, she was never the star that some fans thought she should have been. Them's the breaks. Here's Carol Lawrence and Larry Kert performing Tonight on The Ed Sullivan Show 1957.