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1964_03_21--072_SP [Lawrence of Illinois]

"I throw myself into everything that I do," says Carol Lawrence." I f you want to criticize that as naked ambition, well I guess that it is." Carol Lawrence show, that show, this interview, that commercial. You have to do it. When you cool off a bit, you're forgotten." Several days later she was less tired, after a relatively light schedule, and in better spirits. She used the whole room for conversation—wide-armed gestures, brisk strides, sudden pirouettes. She was wearing a black turtleneck sweater that accentuated her square shoulders, smallish dancer's bust and wasp waist. She spoke of the scholarship she had won to Northwestern University, where she found the tempo so slow that she quit after her freshman year. "I was bored to tears," she said. So she went to Broadway, rented a hotel room, and won an understudy role in Producer Sillman's New Faces. Three weeks before the show opened, the girl Carol was understudying broke an ankle, and Lawrence of Illinois got to perform. There were a half-dozen shows after New Faces and before West Side Story, and though they brought her little recognition, she spoke of them with expansive good humor. "I knew I was learning all the time. This is when I was working twenty-five hours a day. I'd drag myself home at night. But I was confident, even then, it would end up all right." She fell in love for the first time in Hollywood when she was 21 and making a movie version of New Faces. He was a businessman. "And I won't tell you his name, because he's married now, and I don't think his wife would like it. But I thought I was so much in love. I was crushed," and she paused. "Well, for twenty minutes anyway." And then there was Cosmo Allegretti, her first husband. "Yes," she said, the smile fading from her lips. "Then there was Cosmo." He was—and still is—the puppeteer on the Captain Kangaroo TV show. They met in a television studio in 1955, and four months later were married in Melrose Park to the unconcealed delight of Carol's mother and father, the latter an insurance man and town clerk. "All my relatives had wanted their little Carol to get married," she said. "You know, poor Carol alone in that big, wicked city, shaving her legs and doing who knows what else. Everybody thought it was so right that I believed it too." But 46 months later Allegretti obtained an annulment in New York on grounds that Carol refused to have children. He testified that she had told him, "My career is all-important, and I intend to pursue it no matter what." She smiled a little as she considered the charge. "Makes me sound like the cruel, selfish woman, doesn't it? Career before children and a home. But it wasn't an issue at first. By the time it became an issue, I knew the marriage wouldn't last. I felt he had the medieval approach to marriage. The woman should be down there," and she pointed as if from a high place to her elegantly booted feet, "with the slippers and the adoring, upturned eyes. I'd be up at six to make breakfast, I'd watch Captain Kangaroo faithfully and daily greet him with constructive criticism," she said, sarcasm leaking into her voice. "And I'd make the costumes for his puppets and do part of his wash by hand. And remember, all this time I had the slight matter of eight shows a week to do of my own in West Side Story. "Well, anyway," she said as she smiled again, "I knew I'd made a mistake. You see? I don't always get straight A's." Allegretti, 35, now father of a two-yearold son but divorced a second time, still blames her career for their troubles. "We had everything going for us. She was warm, loving, a real good wife. At first. I admit I don't believe in fifty-fifty marriages, that two people can have careers. Maybe I'm old-fashioned," he said, looking down at his hands and frowning. "But I wanted a family. She promised me that after West Side she'd forget the career. And when the show closed, I took her on a cruise, sort of a honeymoon. Well, halfway through the cruise I noticed that she had brought some French-lesson records with her. I asked her why she wanted to learn French, and she told me she had signed for a part in a new show. Well, that finished it, I'll tell you," he said angrily. "She's amazing. She seems to have to keep proving to everybody how great she is!" After the annulment. Carol Lawrence continued her climb, stopping long enough to pluck a fresh husband, Robert Goulet— a blue-eyed, 30-year-old singer who has been rising steadily since 1960, when he made his Broadway debut in Camelot. "I met him at a party," she says. "At first there was nothing. We met several times after that—and still nothing. But we did a TV show together, and that's when we developed an interest in one another. We're both mature, we both know about the problem of careers. And we both want children. I don't know if there'll be three or forty." They have the room for forty. There's a snug 20-room bungalow in Bedford Village, N.Y. There's Carol's New York apartment. And just recently the Goulets bought a 25-year-old French regency cottage in Beverly Hills. Goulet says all this professional gallivanting of hers will end soon. "She'll be first a wife and second an actress," he says. "And if we have children, she'll be first a wife, second a mother, and third an actress. In some matters I alone will make the decisions. In others we'll make them together. But there are some areas in which the husband must be boss." Carol agrees. Or at least she sounds as if she agrees. "I'm not doing any more nightclubs after this tour," she said, hastily washing off TV makeup while her wardrobe lady packed her costumes and her secretary rattled off information about plane schedules. "I'm going to live on the Coast and start making a home for us. Of course, it's very difficult to look ahead in show business and definitdly say what you'll be doing. Who knows when the perfect script might come along?" She smiled, and with her camel's-hair coat wrapped around her shoulders, rushed out of the theater to hail a cab, which would take her to the airport—and still another job. THE END 75


1964_03_21--072_SP [Lawrence of Illinois]
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