West End Star Stephanie Lawrence Found Dead in London

News   West End Star Stephanie Lawrence Found Dead in London Reuters reported that West End theatre star Stephanie Lawrence was found dead Nov. 4 in her London apartment. Her age was listed at 50. No cause of death was named.
Stephanie Lawrence as Mrs. Johnstone in Blood Brothers
Stephanie Lawrence as Mrs. Johnstone in Blood Brothers (Photo by Photo by Phil Cutts)

Reuters reported that West End theatre star Stephanie Lawrence was found dead Nov. 4 in her London apartment. Her age was listed at 50. No cause of death was named. Ms. Lawrence was a regular in the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber. She took starring parts in Cats and Evita. She also headlined Starlight Express on both sides of the Atlantic.

In Decemeber 1999, she rejoined the cast of the long-running London hit Blood Brothers, playing Mrs. Johnson. She created the role in Willy Russell's musical, playing it for four years before the show came to Broadway in 1993, reported the Times of London. Blood Brothers was poorly received in New York, but Ms. Lawrence was nonetheless honored with a Tony nomination.

Ms. Lawrence got her first big break when she was selected to take over for Elaine Paige in the London staging of Evita. Years later, she netted the role of Pearl in Starlight Express, the Lloyd Webber roller-skating musical which was loathed by U.S. critics, but is still running in the UK.

If Lloyd Webber shows were a source of constant employment for Ms. Lawrence, they were also a source of bad fortune. She was injured performing in Starlight, and, years later in 1998, while in Cats, fell down a stairway, suffering critical injuries, said the Times.

Ms. Lawrence was also known for her talent at impersonating feminine icons, among them Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn!) and Marlene Dietrich (The Blue Angel).

Brought up on Hayling Island, Hamphsire, England, she was the daughter of George and Gladys Kent, a musician and a classical dance, respectively.

She is survived by her husband, Laurie Sautereau, whom she married just two months ago.

— by Robert Simonson