Vicki Lawrence was busy bouncing between game show and sitcom sets in the '80s

Vicki Lawrence was a big fan of Mama's Family and game shows. She was even a contestant on a game show in the sitcom.

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In the 1980s, Vicki Lawrence kept herself busy. Not only was Lawrence the star of Mama's Family, which lasted for six seasons, but she was also the host of NBC's daytime game show Win, Lose or Draw in 1987.

Lawrence was a big fan of game shows and an avid contestant. She was a contestant on include The $10,000 Pyramid (1973), Super Password (1984) and Match Game (1973).

She hosted Win, Lose or Draw for the show's entire two seasons.

"The game show is pretty much every other weekend," Lawrence said in a 1987 interview with Pensacola News Journal. "It's busy, but it keeps me off the streets."

Lawrence would spend Monday through Friday on the set of Mama's Family, host the game show every other weekend and then come home to another part-time gig — being a mom to two children. She was so busy, no wonder she thought about moving to Hawaii for retirement in 1979.

Win, Lose or Draw was a game where two teams of three men and three women competed. One person from each group was given the name of a famous person and had to communicate with the rest of the team by drawing pictures.

"The game show is a lot of fun," Lawrence said. "It feels like a crash course in Dick Clark. I thought it would be much easier, but it is chaotic. It's pretty much a circus. I'm hyper by the end of the day. But I love to meet the celebrities who head the teams."

According to Lawrence, the hardest part about hosting the game show was not playing a character and remembering to be herself. She said playing the role of Mama in Mama's Family was a much easier job for her.

Her role as Mama both on The Carol Burnett Show and on Mama's Family helped her pursue her love for game shows in the form of a part-time job. And it was her chance to show her true self on-screen, away from Mama's glasses and gray hair.

Lawrence said she was approached to do Mama's Family in the ninth season of The Carol Burnett Show. At the time, executive producer Joe Hamilton, Burnett's then-husband, encouraged Lawrence to take the reins.

"I did not think I had the self-confidence to handle it, but he said I could come back to the Burnett show," Lawrence said. "I didn't want to come back with my tail tucked between my legs. Besides, I had just been pregnant for nine months, and I didn't want to be fat and old like Mama. Carol, though, she was thrilled with the idea. But it wasn't until a couple years after the Burnett show that I decided to tackle it."

To come full circle, in 1983, the Harper family was on Family Feud in the episode 'Family Feud.' In 1988, the Harper family went on Jeopardy! in the episode 'Mama on Jeopardy!'

Over 30 years later, Lawrence and her real family went on the celebrity version of Family Feud, where her family competed against Ed Asner and his family. 

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34 Comments

CaptainDunsel 15 months ago
I'm sure the writers of this piece were just trying to turn a cute phrase, but I certainly hope she didn't consider raising her real-life children a "part time gig".
bmoore4026 15 months ago
They need to bring back Win, Lose, Or Draw. Just sayin'.
Moverfan 15 months ago
As I recall, there were two different versions of Win, Lose Or Draw. I remember Vicki hosting...but I also remember Bert Convey as host. Maybe one was network and one was syndicated...?
Mblack Moverfan 15 months ago
What game show didn't have Bert Convey?
Jeremy Moverfan 15 months ago
That's Convy.
Moverfan Mblack 15 months ago
I csn only think of four...You Don't Say (late sixties/early seventies), Body Language, The Joker's Wild and Musical Chairs. The first two were histed by Tom Kennedy and the other two were Jack Nsrz and Adam Wade respectively.
JHP 15 months ago
well the super all time tough question of any of these topics...

I for the life of me do not know who the other star is in that photo,,,does anyone?
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Zip Mblack 15 months ago
This is the guy I am thinking of. He's the one demonstrating the .44 Magnum.
Jeremy Zip 15 months ago
I think that's David Graf.
Moverfan Jeremy 15 months ago
I don't think David Graf was ever on M*A*S*H. Sounds like it might GW Bsiley, who played Rizzo. But I had an ad for some kind of tools at the top of this story when I opened it...now all I see is "Ad closed by Google" (which was damn nice f them).
Jeremy Moverfan 15 months ago
I was talking about the photo in which she was one of the celebrities that week on "Pyramid."
BrittReid 15 months ago
She played for charity on Card Sharks with Jim Perry.
Rick 15 months ago
What the heck is that photo for this article? Is that really Vicki Lawrence on the far left? It doesn't look like her. And the show is clearly not "Win, Lose or Draw" - I think it's the (10,000/25,000) Dollar Pyramid.
Jeremy Rick 15 months ago
Yep, that's her from one of her many appearances on "Pyramid."
AnnaRentzVandenhazel 15 months ago
She also recorded "The Night the Lights Went out In Georgia" in 1973, later remade by Reba McIntire in 1991. That was where I first heard of Vicki - I'd never seen the Carol Burnett Show (didn't even know it existed until a local TV station started showing reruns in the hour before prime time), and the game shows she appeared on were aired while I was at school, so I didn't see her there until school was out for the summer.
CortneyNicole 15 months ago
Vicki was a great actress and comedienne legend since the Carol Burnett show and Mama's Family and also she was a good host on Win, Lose or Drew.

Thank you MeTV for sharing an update :)
Mblack 15 months ago
I remember when Leroy from Fame was on a game show, won some things, but then disovered he'd have to pay taxes on a lot of useless things.
Andybandit 15 months ago
I meant to say she is a good actress.
Andybandit 15 months ago
I remember seeing Vicki Lawrence on the $10,000 Pyramid with Dick Clark. I don't remember what year. She is a very actress. She still acts today. I saw on an episode of The Resident.
cperrynaples 15 months ago
Bonus Question: What game show did Eunice appear on in a Family sketch?
Jeremy cperrynaples 15 months ago
The Gong Show
cperrynaples Jeremy 15 months ago
Yep, and I believe Jamie Farr gonged her!
CoreyC cperrynaples 15 months ago
It was all three.
Jeremy cperrynaples 15 months ago
Personally, I don't think she was as bad as they made her out to be.
LoveMETV22 15 months ago
Sounds as though Vicki Lawrence was one busy individual.
Not sure who's answer was funnier when she appeared on Celebrity Family Feud vs Ed Asner.

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