Jody Lawrance

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Jody Lawrance
JodyLawrance.jpg
BornNona Josephine Goddard
(1930-10-19)October 19, 1930
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
DiedJuly 10, 1986(1986-07-10) (aged 55)
Ojai, California, U.S.
OccupationActress
Years active1949–1962
Spouse(s)Robert Wolf Herre
ChildrenVictoria P. Tilton, Robert Wolf Herre, Jr., Chrissy A Herre
 
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Jody Lawrance
JodyLawrance.jpg
BornNona Josephine Goddard
(1930-10-19)October 19, 1930
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
DiedJuly 10, 1986(1986-07-10) (aged 55)
Ojai, California, U.S.
OccupationActress
Years active1949–1962
Spouse(s)Robert Wolf Herre
ChildrenVictoria P. Tilton, Robert Wolf Herre, Jr., Chrissy A Herre

Jody Lawrance (October 19, 1930 – July 10, 1986), sometimes known by the surname Lawrence, was an American actress who starred in many Hollywood adventures during the 1950s through the early 1960s.

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Biography[edit]

Born Nona Josephine Goddard in Fort Worth, Texas, to Ervin S. and Eleanor (née Roeck) Goddard, she attended Beverly Hills High School and the Hollywood Professional School. In 1949 she adopted the screen name of Jody (short for Josephine) Lawrance (her maternal grandmother's maiden name) for her first role as Mary on The Silver Theater television show.

Her first big break came in 1949 when she was signed to a 7 year contract with Columbia Pictures, earning $250 per week. In 1951, she made her screen debut in Mask of the Avenger starring John Derek. The Family Secret was her second film, again starring John Derek, as well as Lee J. Cobb. Ten Tall Men starring Burt Lancaster premiered in October 1951. As the leading lady in three major movies, Jody was on her way to becoming a star. In 1952 she won the lead role in The Son of Dr. Jekyll with Louis Hayward and The Brigand starring Anthony Dexter.

In 1953 Columbia Pictures asked Jody to make a musical, All Ashore with Mickey Rooney. Unsure of her singing ability, Jody asked to be replaced by another actress better suited for the role. Columbia refused, and Jody reluctantly made the movie. In 1953 she was released from her contract. Wanting to continue working, she took the role of Pocahontas in the independent film Captain John Smith and Pocahontas. She dyed her own hair black and suffered a horrible allergic reaction, but persevered and delivered one of her most memorable performances.[citation needed]

In 1954, in order to make ends meet, she took jobs waitressing in Westwood and Beverly Hills. During one of her shifts, she waited on Burt Lancaster, her former co-star in Ten Tall Men. Burt exclaimed "What is Jody Lawrance, a movie star, doing working as a waitress?" She explained her situation, and he vowed to help get her back into show business. A few weeks later, true to his word, Lancaster introduced Jody to his friend and director of Casablanca Michael Curtiz, who cast her in the film The Scarlet Hour.

Now a blonde, her career reignited. Paramount Studios signed her to a contract, earning $300 a week. 1956 brought the release of The Leather Saint, reuniting her with John Derek. In 1957, just as her career was getting back on track, Paramount released her from her contract. Studio executives found out that she had secretly married Bruce Michael Tilton (1930–2007), an airplane parts company executive, in Las Vegas on April 7, 1956, pregnant with their first child. Her daughter, Victoria, was born in Los Angeles on October 6, 1957. Her career and home life were at a crossroads, she still held on to the belief that she could once again resurrect her career, but her husband wanted a wife and mother to stay home and raise their family.[citation needed]

In April 1958, she went to Las Vegas twice to file, then dismiss a divorce complaint. Both cited emotional cruelty. Tilton was granted a divorce from Jody Lawrance on March 26, 1958, and asked for custody of their daughter, Victoria. She continued to find work, even though her personal life was in turmoil, and landed a minor role opposite Shirley MacLaine in The Hot Spell, and the lead in an episode of Perry Mason "Case of the Perjured Parrot". In 1959, she played a minor role in the mobster movie The Purple Gang starring Barry Sullivan and Robert Blake. On June 3, 1960, Lawrance temporarily lost custody of Victoria, after testimony in which each parent claimed to be the fit and proper guardian, although neither side claimed the other was unfit. She tried to find work, but roles became increasingly smaller, and she resigned herself to bit parts in television programs like The Loretta Young Show, The Red Skelton Hour and The Rebel. Her last film The Stagecoach to Dancer’s Rock starring Martin Landau was released in 1962.

She met Robert Wolf Herre in 1962; the couple wed on November 1, 1962 in Las Vegas. On May 16, 1961, Lawrence gave birth to Robert Wolf Herre, Jr. Abigail Christian "Chrissy" Herre was born on October 10, 1963. At the time of her death she was known as Josephine Lawrence Herre. She died at age 55 in Ojai, California on July 10, 1986.[1]

Select filmography[edit]

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