Article published in Dropline.biz on August 15, 2005
Maggie Lawson—“Blessed with Beauty, Talent, and Good Fortune”
By Dino M. Zaffina
A native of Louisville, Kentucky. Maggie first came out to Hollywood when she was 15 years old during her spring break of her sophomore year of high school. She traveled to the west coast with her mom to check out acting prospects.
Lawson officially moved to Southern California her summer she turned 17 before her senior year. Maggie’s high school permitted her to complete her senior year through correspondence. This provided Maggie with the opportunity to return to Louisville to graduate with her high school classmates and attend her prom. “I had a normal high school life,” she said.
During Maggie’s first trip to Hollywood, she had the good fortune to meet theatrical agent, Ro Diamond of SDB Partners, Inc., who is still her agent. Diamond signed Maggie immediately. Thereafter, Maggie enrolled in an acting class the summer that she was sixteen. While she was studying acting, she booked her first job. The role was a guest spot on the sitcom, Unhappily Everafter. “I was very lucky when I first came out,” Maggie said.
After finishing her job on Unhappily Everafter Maggie returned home to Kentucky. No sooner did she step foot on her hometown soil, when she received a telephone call from Ro Diamond informing her that Unhappily Everafter made a request for another guest appearance on an upcoming episode. Maggie was just starting her junior year, but her high school graciously gave her permission to travel to L.A. The show flew Maggie and her mother out to California, for her second episode and two more following that for a total of four guest starring appearances.
Using her time wisely during these trips to Los Angeles, Lawson’s agent set-up auditions for her to attend. These auditions proved to be profitable; she booked small roles, in two feature films, I’ve Been Waiting for You and Pleasantville, and a pilot for the WB. The pilot did not get picked up, but shortly after finishing her stint on Pleasantville Lawson and her parents made the decision to move out to Los Angeles.
After becoming a California domiciliary, Maggie began booking guest starring roles on different shows such as Step by Step, Cybill, Boy Meets World, Home Improvement, Felicity, ER, and Smallville, with a recurring role on Party of Five during the 1999-2000 season.
In addition to guest spots and feature film roles, Maggie landed numerous series regular roles on shows such as Family Rules, Inside Schwartz, It’s All Relative, Spellbound, and in the upcoming 2005-2006 season, Crumbs, starring opposite Jane Curtain, William Devane, Fred Savage, and Eddie McClintock.
At the age of 19, Lawson was handed the biggest challenge and benefit of her career when she received the lead role in ABC/Disney’s Movie of the Week, Model Behavior. In this movie, Lawson played dual roles, “Alex Burroughs” and “Janine Adams.” Alex is a geeky teenager and Janine is a supermodel. When the two young ladies discover that they look so much alike they decided to trade places because Alex hates being a tortured teenager and Janine just wanted a normal life. Janine’s overbearing mother is played by Kathie Lee Gifford. To this day, people ask Maggie what it was like to have an onscreen kiss with Justin Timberlake.
The following year, Maggie pulled a “hat-trick,” booking three major roles in a row. She was first offered the lead role in the New Line Cinema feature film, Cheaters which was shot in Vancouver, Canada. While on a break during the filming of Cheaters, Maggie traveled back down to L.A. to audition for another feature film, Winter Break, for which she received the role. As soon as Cheaters completed principal photography, Maggie began production on Winter Break, and soon after Winter Break concluded, she was asked to do Third Degree, a gritty, dark, drama set and shot in New York City about young detectives at the John J. College of Criminal Justice. Although the pilot didn’t sell, “To this day it was one of my favorite roles,” Lawson said.
Lawson keeps rolling with the punches. After Third Degree didn’t get picked up, Lawson landed a series regular part on Inside Schwartz playing Eve Morris, a young lady who has just broken up with her boyfriend and the turmoil that goes with trying to remain friends. This show aired after Friends on the Must See TV Thursday night line-up.
In the 2003-2004 television season, Maggie was cast in It’s All Relative. This was a funny sitcom with an excellent cast. When asked why this show didn’t go more than the first full season, Maggie replied, “The first four shows came out like gangbusters. We had great auditions and every week it seemed great. We received the back-nine pick-up. But, after about four episodes it just fell off. The network moved the timeslot; they took the show off the air for a few weeks. No one knows how shows stay on or why they get canceled.”
Maggie has a great outlook on her career. She says, “Regardless, of what happens, even if the show fails, the fact that I got to work with the wonderful people that I did. The fact that I got the job in the first place was a success, to play that character and to be part of something that you are proud of is a success. You got to let it go.” Maggie stated further, “I feel so lucky because I have always had wonderful experiences. People have been so wonderful to me. I have been so blessed. Go with the flow, I say.”
Besides keeping up with a rigorous work schedule, Maggie is attending a local University. Maggie said, “I didn’t go to school right out of high school because of my work schedule, so I am going a little at a time. I’m chomping away, a class here, sometimes two, sometimes three, whenever I can fit them in.”
“One of the best things that you can learn by being in this industry is to always have an outlet.” Maggie said. “Do not let this business define who you are. Keep the doors open, whether reading a book or taking a class.” She explains further, “Every class that I take and the knowledge that I receive in that subject area or whatever it may be, I always leave with a little bit more confidence, and a little bit more knowledge and I feel that it makes me a better and well-rounded person and in turn makes me a better actress.”
Maggie said that she loves to read, “When you read, you really look into characters. You get a level of understanding people and emotion with every book that you read.”
When asked if she had a particular major that was of interest to her, Maggie replied, “I’m looking at English because I love literature and I’m looking at Psychology because it seems that I will gain a better understanding of human behavior. This will be helpful for acting. As far as being an actress this is one of the best lessons you can have, to go into the self.” When talking about school Lawson is so enthusiastic, “I am so in love with school,” she said.
“Currently, I am taking English and Psychology classes. I recently finished a Sociology class which gave me a better understanding of society in general,” Maggie said.
When asked how she fits in school with her busy acting schedule, Lawson replied, “I started the summer of 2003. If you know your schedule then you know where you can fit school in. You can do it. Crank out three classes. Take one maybe two classes. People ask me, ‘How do you do it?’ First, off I love it. But, secondly, if you want to do it you can. If you are disciplined and it is something that you love, you put your energy into it; it’s really doable.”
The new sitcom is Crumbs. It is currently slotted as a midseason replacement for ABC’s 2005-2006 season. Maggie was offered the role of Andrea by the show’s creator and one of the executive producers, Marco Pennette.
The role of Andrea was not originally in the script for the pilot, but once the role was created, Andrea was featured in three scenes which established her as Mitch’s (Fred Savage) reality check. Andrea is somebody that knows that Mitch is gay. She is Mitch’s best friend and confidante; the one that he can always go to for a nonjudgmental sounding board.
The show is centered around a family that is enough to drive anyone a little crazy. The children keep secrets from their parents so they won’t upset them, dad leaves for other women, and mom tries to run over dad with the car. This is actually the point when the Crumb family realized mom was crazy. Estranged brothers Mitch and Jody Crumb (Eddie McClintock) reunite in their small hometown to deal with their mother, Suzanne (Jane Curtain), who is being released from a psychiatric country club and has yet to discover that her ex-husband, Billy (William Devane), is about to have a baby with his new girlfriend. They have issues – major issues. Central to everything is the dynamic between these two brothers: Mitch is the prodigal son who is returning home after a failed Hollywood career, and Jody is the older brother who has stayed in the confines of their small New England town to run the family business. Together for the first time as adults, this family will have to stick by one another despite their combustible relationships.
Major kudos to Marco Pennette because he was once a NYU student working as a P.A. (Production Assistant) on Jane Curtain’s first sitcom, Kate and Ally just over 10 years ago. Now he is her boss on this new sitcom. Strange turn of events.
The other executive producers are Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins, and Joe Davola.
Video previews can be seen on ABC’s website: Clip 1 “How are ya, sweetie?” Clip 2 “What about your vows?” Clip 3 “We’re not telling her.”
Besides wishing Maggie Lawson the best with her career, success with Crumbs, and her collegiate endeavors, the staff of Dropline.biz would also like to wish Maggie a Happy Birthday!
Articles Written or Co-Authored by Dino M. Zaffina
© 2019 Dino M. Zaffina. All rights reserved.