Profile Image of Jody Lawrance

Jody Lawrance

1930-10-19 - 1986-07-10

As the 1950s began, Jody Lawrance (born Nona Josephine Goddard) showed much promise as a contract player for Columbia. In 1951 alone, she was the female lead in four features including "Ten Tall Men," playing opposite Burt Lancaster. However, her reticence to appear in the Mickey Rooney musical, "All Ashore" (1953) because she didn't feel she had the singing ability required for the role and her reluctance to do publicity for the studio resulted in an early release from her contract. After her appearance as Pocahontas in the independent film, "Captain John Smith and Pocahontas" (1953) was a critical and commercial flop, Lawrance was effectively out of the movie business. Now working as a waitress in the Westwood area of Los Angeles, she was the subject of a feature article on her plight as an actress. Soon afterward, she received a surprise visit at the restaurant by her former co-star Burt Lancaster, who promised to help restart her acting career. This led to a role in the film noir, "The Scarlet Hour" (1956) and a contract with Paramount. While her billing had dropped a few notches from her Columbia days, her career was clearly on the mend. However, when Paramount learned that she had eloped and was expecting her first child, they terminated her contract. Despite this latest setback in her career, Lawrance found work on the small screen and appeared on some of the most popular television series of the late 1950s, including "The Loretta Young Show," "The Rebel," and "Perry Mason." She succeeded during this period despite the failure of her first marriage and the subsequent custody battle. After her second marriage, she effectively retired from show business to raise a family with her new husband.