The Golden Girls

Vicki Lawrence didn’t mind if people confused her with Carol Burnett

“I don’t care if people think I’m someone else.”

It was a similarity so accurate that it was used many times for comedic benefit on The Carol Burnett Show — Carol Burnett and Vicki Lawrence bear a striking resemblance to one another. It’s a coincidence that united the two in the first place, when Vicki Lawrence, who had been told throughout her whole adolescence that she looked like Carol Burnett, decided to write to her long-lost twin explaining the comical situation.

Burnett, in response, contacted Lawrence, who was then still in college, and the two were able to meet. In an interview with The Kingston Daily Freeman, Lawrence still expressed incredulity about the situation. “At first, I thought it was a practical joke. But it really was Carol Burnett. And that was good, very good!”

Later, Lawrence was able to audition for Burnett’s show on CBS, an experience that Lawrence described as disastrous. “I was rotten. I didn’t know what I was doing.” Still, luck was in her favor. “Miracle of miracles, they signed me on.” More than that, what Lawrence didn’t have in raw talent, she was able to learn at the hands of the master. “I’ve learned a lot over the years. Carol has been my teacher.”

But since Lawrence has achieved her fame, both on The Carol Burnett Show and independently in Mama’s Family, one can’t help but wonder if she eventually grew tired of being confused with Carol Burnett. The two seemed so similar that even fans confused them sometimes, addressing letters to Vicki as “Carol Lawrence.” However, Lawrence wasn’t bothered.

Lawrence explained, “I’m basically lazy. I’m happy just eating and sleeping away the rest of my life on a sunny beach. I don’t care if people think I’m someone else.” Burnett, by contrast, seemed to be constantly working and on the move. Lawrence herself didn’t even have dreams of following in Burnett’s footsteps because she was perfectly happy forging her path. She said simply, “I don’t want to be another Carol Burnett.”

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