Sunday, February 10, 2008

Rosina Lawrence

Rosina Lawrence was an actress/singer who appeared in several movies in the 1930s. She is best remembered for her role as Mary Roberts in the 1937 Laurel and Hardy comedy "Way Out West". Additionally, she appeared in some of the Little Rascals comedies as a schoolteacher.

Shortly before I left California in May 1976, to return to New York, a friend asked me if I could locate a couple of ladies from the Laurel and Hardy movies. He said the Sons of the Desert, the international Laurel and Hardy appreciation society, had been trying to find them for years with no luck. He knew of my success in finding some of the players in Three Stooges comedies, so he presented me with this request. One of those ladies was Rosina Lawrence. Unfortunately, I was unable to find anything about her at that time.

A few weeks later, I was back in New York. During the first of what would become frequent visits to the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts, where I made extensive use of the clippings folders, I requested to see the one for Rosina Lawrence. While most of the clippings were reviews of movies in which she appeared, there was one (what I consider to be) all-important news item, from about 1939 - an announcement of her marriage to a New York lawyer/judge, Juvenal Marchisio. One other clipping, from a few years later, referred to them living in Brooklyn.

When I returned home, I called telephone directory assistance, requesting the number for a Juvenal Marchisio. There was a listing, but it was for Rosina's son (her husband had died a few years earlier). I called him and explained why I wanted to contact his Mother - because she was fondly remembered for her movie appearances. He gave me her number, and I immediately called her. She was just a sweetheart to talk to, very much appreciative of being remembered, and had only kind words to say about Laurel and Hardy and others she recalled working with.

The NY Sons of the Desert wasted no time inviting her and her family to their annual banquet, which was in a few weeks. It was there that I met her, and enjoyed talking to her. Shortly after, Rosina wrote me and enclosed a vintage portrait which she signed to me.

In 1994, I had the pleasure of providing transportation for Rosina and her then-husband Jack McCabe, to and from the 1994 Sons Convention in Tarrytown, NY. I drove to Brooklyn where I picked up Rosina and her little dog; we then went to a kennel where the dog would stay for a few days; then on to the airport to pick up Jack who'd arrived from their summer residence in Michigan. At the end of the Convention, this trip was done in reverse, dropping off Jack at the airport so he could catch a return flight, picking up the dog, and returning Rosina and dog to the comfort of their home. She gave me this signed scene still to thank me.


Peter said...

So, not only did you meet her, but you are the one who "found" her! That's a wonderful story - thank you so much for sharing it.

Devin said...

And thank you for finding her! I had the opportunity to meet her twice and found her to be as charming and good-natured as she was in the movies. Great story!

catsafterme said...

It's a good thing you found her or I wouldn't have been writing on my website just a few days ago about the first time I met her when I was eight years old!

And if you recall, it was at the NY convention where you and I first met. I recall you telling me about how you were driving the McCabes to and from the airport.