LAWRENCE (FAMOUS), MARJORIE - Garland County, Arkansas | MARJORIE LAWRENCE (FAMOUS) - Arkansas Gravestone Photos


Greenwood Cemetery
Garland County,

17 February 1907 - 13 January 1979

Marjorie Florence Lawrence was born at Deans Marsh, south of Winchelsea, Victoria, Australia, fifth of six children of William Lawrence, butcher and fiddler, and his wife Elizabeth (Smith) Lawrence. On March 29, 1941 she married Dr. Thomas King, an osteopath, at New York City’s City Hall. She was an Australian soprano, particularly noted as an interpreter of Richard Wagner's operas. In her teen years she won a number of vocal competitions. She studied under Ivor Boustead, in Australia, and famous opera teacher, Cécile Gilly, in Paris. Early in her career she sang in Monte Carlo in Wagner's ‘Tannhäuser’, in Paris in ‘Lohengrin’, and the world premier of Joseph Canteloube’s ‘Vercingétorix’. On December 18, 1935, she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City playing Brunnhilde in ‘Die Walküre’. She sang four seasons at the Paris Opera, and six seasons at the Metropolitan Opera, mostly in Wagnerian leads. Her repertoire grew to some twenty-five major roles in four languages. In 1941, while performing in Mexico, she found she was unable to stand, and was diagnosed with poliomyelitis which left her almost completely paralyzed in both legs. After a slow treatment using Sister Elizabeth Kenny’s method, she was able to use her legs partially. The treatment also helped her to recover her voice. She continued to perform using a chair, and sometimes upright on a wheeling platform designed by her husband. She entertained Australian troops in 1944, and troops in Vietnam in 1966. She performed in Buckingham Place and the White House. In 1949 she published her autobiography ‘Interrupted Melody’ (New York, 1949). She criticized the accuracy of a 1955 movie, of the same name, based on her autobiography. The movie won an Oscar for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay, and two Oscar nominations. She taught at Tulane, Southern Illinois, and Arkansas universities, and ran workshops from her home in Hot Springs. For her work in France she had received the cross of the Légion d'honneur (1946). Named by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in her 1977 New Year’s Honor’s List as Commander of the British Empire (C.B.E.), in recognition of services to the performing arts, she was invested on May 17, 1977. Marjorie died of heart failure almost two years later.

References for this Biography:
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Ref: (accessed October 7, 2008)
Ref: (accessed October 7, 2008)
Ref: (accessed October 7, 2008)

Photograph courtesy of Patti Hays.

Contributed on 10/5/08 by mitzibitzi2
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Record #: 73118

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Submitted: 10/5/08 • Approved: 11/29/08 • Last Updated: 6/18/21 • R73118-G70446-S3

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