VICKI LAWRENCE: BABY MAMA DRAMA

Published on: October 4, 2013
Photography by: NBC Universal
NationalEnquirer.com

A WHOLE new generation will get a chance to fall in love with Thelma Mae Harper – because the clas­sic sitcom “Mama’s Family” is back on DVD!

The first two seasons of the show – which starred Vicki Lawrence as the unforgettable “Mama” – aired on NBC from January 1983 to April 1984. It was a spinoff of a popu­lar “Carol Burnett Show” skit called “The Family,” in which Carol played Mama’s melodra­matic daughter Eunice Higgins, and Harvey Korman had the role of Eunice’s long-suffering husband, Ed. “Mama’s Family” also featured Betty White, Rue Mc­Clanahan and other TV legends.

Vicki, now 64, spoke exclusively with The ENQUIRER about the new DVD release.

“You know, it’s so gratifying to see these shows coming out again on DVD,” she said. “I’m thrilled!”

What’s incredible is that Vicki ini­tially turned down the offer to do “Mama’s Family.” She said that Car­ol’s hubby at the time, Joe Hamilton, had struck a deal for Mama to have her own series.

“But I had just spent nine months being pregnant,” Vicki recalled. “I re­ally didn’t want to put on the bodysuit and be a big old lady every week.”

So she passed on the project.

“Then, when the Burnett show ended, Carol still owed CBS a special,” Vicki continued. “And she commis­sioned a 90-minute teleplay about ‘The Family’ called ‘Eunice,’ which is so great.

“ ‘Eunice’ was received really well, and I was nominated for an Emmy Award as Mama.”

It wasn’t long before Vicki was ap­proached about doing her own series again – and this time she said yes.

“My supporting cast was so won­derful – Carol Burnett, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, Harvey Korman, Dorothy Lyman and Ken Berry,” she said. “How much help can one girl get?”

Although Korman died in 2008 and McClanahan in 2010, the remain­ing cast members got together for a reunion in May.

“It’s a bonus feature on the disc,” Vicki added.

WIN THE DVD SET -- all the deets are in this week's print edition of THE ENQUIRER!