Barbara Jo Lawrence is an American film actress.
Lawrence was born in Carnegie, Oklahoma. She began her career as a photographer’s model at a very young age, and appeared in her first film, Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe, in 1945. She was featured in the 1947 swashbuckler, “Captain from Castile” with Tyrone Power. While finishing her studies at UCLA, she attracted the attention of talent scouts, and Lawrence was soon co-starring in a handful of 20th Century Fox movies, including A Letter to Three Wives, The Street with No Name, Thieves’ Highway and Here Come the Nelsons. In January 1947, aged 18, she married The marriage was kept secret until June 28, 1947, when her mother gave Barbara a church wedding in Beverly Hills, but the marriage ended a year and a half later, in 1948.
Upon moving to MGM, Lawrence starred with Gig Young in the 3D movie, Arena. She then starred in Her Twelve Men with Greer Garson. Lawrence also played the major role of Gertie Cummings in the film version of Oklahoma!, in which she gets into a knockdown fight with Gloria Grahame. In 1957, she starred in Kronos with Jeff Morrow. Although the film was not praised by critics at the time, it eventually attracted a cult following for its imaginative storyline and special effects. After doing a number of television shows in the late 1950s and early 1960s she spent several years in South America.
In 1951 the actress married Johnny Murphy, and the couple had two children together before divorcing in 1957. After marrying Lester R. Nelson in 1961, she had two more children. She made several more television appearances in 1962, then retired from acting altogether. She and Nelson divorced in 1976.