Sharon Lawrence

Sharon Lawrence Headshot

Actress

Birth Date: June 29, 1961

Age: 62 years old

Birth Place: Charlotte, North Carolina

A prolific television and stage actress, Sharon Lawrence proved she had the stuff of small-screen success with her very first television role as ambitious assistant district attorney Sylvia Costas on "NYPD Blue" (ABC, 1993-2005). Her consistently praised performance earned the actress three Emmy nominations, and between regular detours back to Broadway, Lawrence continued to be a presence in primetime with a memorable season as a stay-at-home-prostitute on the saucy hit "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004-2012). Several attempts to build dramas and comedy series around the actress proved short-lived, but in her lively appearances on many series including "Monk" (USA, 2002-09), Lawrence could always be counted on to deliver a smart, sharp-tongued law professional or a comically self-indulgent resident of the upper-middle-class.

Lawrence was born June 29, 1961, and raised first in Charlotte and then Raleigh, NC, where her father was a television news anchor. A Junior Miss pageant winner, Lawrence intended to follow in her father's footsteps by studying journalism at UNC Chapel Hill, but when the on-air part of the job began to hold more appeal than the news reporting, she moved to New York City to pursue acting. She had already been singing on cruise ships and at night clubs to earn money during college, and her seasoned pipes brought Lawrence her first break in 1984 when she was cast opposite Anthony Quinn in a national tour of "Zorba." Harold Prince's revival of "Cabaret" marked her Broadway debut in 1987, and the actress spent 1989 to 1992 immersed in "Fiddler on the Roof" - first, as a member of a national tour and then on Broadway. Following her first TV guest spot on Steven Bochco's divorce court series "Civil Wars" (ABC, 1991-93), producers recalled her performance later that year when casting the controversial new police drama "NYPD Blue."

Her role as Sylvia Costas, the earnest, no-nonsense assistant district attorney, began with only a few lines as a day player in the premiere, but producers liked what they saw and eventually added Lawrence to the cast. The sophisticated, ambitious lawyer developed a heated romance with and eventual marriage to older tough cop Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz). The fledgling TV actress obviously had the appeal and the grit the show required, and was honored with Emmy Award nominations in 1994, 1995 and 1996 for portraying the loyal Sylvia as she went through the birth of a child, her husband's cancer treatment, and the couple's eventual separation over Sipowicz' drinking problem. During her hiatus, Lawrence ducked back onto the stage, this time the Los Angeles stage in Matrix Theater Company productions of dramas "The Seagull" and "The Homecoming." Offers poured in, and Lawrence was cast in the TV movie "In the Line of Duty: The Price of Vengeance" (NBC, 1994) and a remake of the family film "The Shaggy Dog" (ABC, 1994). The following year, she appeared in TNT's adaptation of Wendy Wasserstein's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "The Heidi Chronicles" (1995), and gave a powerful performance as the accused murderess Mary Carelli in the NBC miniseries "Degree of Guilt" (1995).

When Lawrence returned to "NYPD Blue" after a Broadway run in "Chicago," her character's prominence had been reduced somewhat to a recurring rather than a cast role; concurrently, NBC cast her in her own sitcom, "Fired Up" (1997-98), where she played a flamboyant executive forced by downsizing to go into business with her former secretary. When that series fizzled quickly, the actress put in one more season as working mother and supportive spouse Sylvia until her character was dramatically killed off in a courtroom shoot-out. She promptly returned to the New York stage in "Tongue of a Bird" (1999), reprising a role she played a few years earlier at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum. Lawrence was not absent from primetime for long, with CBS casting her on "Ladies Man" (1999-2000), as the pregnant wife of Alfred Molina, a long-suffering male in the midst of an extended family of five women who hopes against hope that his new baby will be a boy.

Lawrence enjoyed a Broadway run as Velma Kelly in "Cabaret" and starred on another short-lived, hour-long drama series, "Wolf Lake" (CBS, 2001-02). In September 2002, she appeared in "Under the Blue Sky" by David Eldridge at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. Following a supporting role in the romantic comedy "Little Black Book" (2004), Lawrence scored big with a recurring stint as suburban housewife-turned-call girl Maisy Gibbons on season one of the hit primetime drama "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004-2012). From there, she joined USA Network's comic detective series "Monk," in a recurring role as a real estate agent-turned-murderer, and did double-duty as the deadbeat mom of estranged sisters Megan and Lily on the short-lived, luxury-set series "Privileged" (The CW, 2008-09). However a guest spot as the mother of doctor Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl) on "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 2005- ) earned Lawrence another Emmy Award nomination in 2009.

By Susan Clarke

Credits

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DynastyStream

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Penny & Paul

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Barb
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Queen SugarStream

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Lorna Prescott
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2016

Game of SilenceStream

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Hearts of Christmas

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If I Could Tell You

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Sara Linda
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The Bridge Partner

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Olivia Korhonen
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2015

The After

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Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind

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Nuclear Family

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Karen
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2013

Home & Family

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Middle of Nowhere

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2012

Body of ProofStream

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2011
76%

The Perfect Family

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Agnes Dunn
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2011

ShamelessStream

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2010
82%

Blue BloodsStream

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2010

Access Hollywood Live

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2010

Rizzoli & IslesStream

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2010

Stars in Shorts

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Alice
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2010

CommunityStream

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Doreen
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2009
88%

Drop Dead DivaStream

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2009
78%

The Line

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2009

The MentalistStream

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2008

Privileged

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2008

The Capture of the Green River Killer

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2008

The Capture of the Green River Killer

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2008

Hidden Palms

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Tess Wiatt
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2007

The Better Show

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2007

DirtStream

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2007
37%

Fool Me Once

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2007

Lies & Alibis

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Judith
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2006

Augusta, Gone

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Martha Tod Dudman
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2006

Ghost WhispererStream

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2005

Criminal MindsStream

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Roberta Lynch
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2005

ET Canada

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2005

Grey's AnatomyStream

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2005
84%

American DadStream

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Scarlett Reynolds
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2005

Nearing Grace

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Mrs. Ash
Movie
2005

Desperate HousewivesStream

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Maisy Gibbons
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2004
72%

Little Black BookStream

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2004
22%

One Tree HillStream

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2003

Word of Honor

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Marcy McClure Tyson
Movie
2003

MonkStream

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Linda Fusco
Series
2002
91%

Atomic Twister

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Corrine Maguire
Movie
2002

Philly

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2001

Wolf Lake

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2001

Curb Your EnthusiasmStream

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Dr. Trundle
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2000
92%

Bette

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2000

Gossip

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Detective Kelly
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2000

Aftershock: Earthquake in New York

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1999

Ladies Man

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8%

Law & Order: Special Victims UnitStream

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Maggie Peterson
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78%

Judging Amy

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1999

The Daily Show With Jon StewartStream

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1999

Blue Moon

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Cass Medieros
Movie
1999

Aftershock: Earthquake in New York

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1999

Fired Up

Actor
Gwen Leonard
Series
1997
17%

The Only Thrill

Actor
Joleen Quillet
Movie
1997

Five Desperate Hours

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Clair Ballard
Movie
1997

A Friend's Betrayal

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Nina Talbert
Movie
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The Uninvited

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Pattie Johnson
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1996

Degree of Guilt

Actor
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Caroline in the CityStream

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Star Trek: VoyagerStream

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The Face on the Milk Carton

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The Heidi Chronicles

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1995

Someone She Knows

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The Shaggy Dog

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1994

NYPD BlueStream

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Series
1993
83%

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Series
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83%

CheersStream

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Series
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87%

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