Wednesday, February 16, 2011
February 17: Marjorie Lawrence (1907-1979)
Born on this date in 1907, Australian soprano Marjorie Lawrence (show above in her wheelchair, smiling in a hallway for LIFE magazine; a man stands behind the chair; they appear to be dressed for a formal event).
Marjorie Lawrence was a noted performer of Wagner heroines. In 1941, while appearing in an opera in Mexico, she contracted polio. Eighteen months later, after treatment with Sister Elizabeth Kenny, she returned to the stage. Lawrence generally performed in a seated or reclining position thereafter, with creative staging that incorporated her stance into the visuals. The photo below, also from LIFE magazine, is from a performance by Marjorie Lawrence after polio (she played Venus--shell and all!). She taught after she retired in 1952, near her home in Hot Springs, Arkansas, until her death in 1979.
[Visual description: Black-and-white image of about eleven women in costume, on stage; the central woman, Marjorie Lawrence, lounges across a stylized throne-like shell, while the others around her are lounging or standing; there is a man in the foreground, crouching against the front edge of the throne/shell]