Sharon Elizabeth Lawrence is an American actress, dancer and singer, best known for her award-winning portrayal of Sylvia Costas on the show ‘NYPD Blue’. She was interested in acting and dance right from her childhood days. She comes from a family of extroverted storytellers, and her father had studied acting and worked in theatre back in the day. But she was the first one in her family to convert this natural ability into a profession. After completing her education in Raleigh, she embarked on an acting career, which was kickstarted by her appearances in some musical productions. Starting out on stage in the late 1980s, Lawrence has appeared in numerous TV serials and movies since then. As far as her stage accomplishments go, she has performed in various musicals like 'Cabaret', 'A Song at Twilight', 'Fiddler on the Roof’ and 'Chicago’. Her role of Sylvia Costas in the police procedural show ‘NYPD Blue’ earned her an Screen Actors Guild Award. Her other TV credits include ‘Desperate Housewives’, ‘Law and Order Special Victims Unit’, ‘Ladies Man’ and ‘Rizzoli & Isles’. She is actively involved in supporting various NGOs, including ‘Women In Film Foundation’, ‘SAG-AFTRA Foundation’, ‘HealTheBay.org’, ‘WeForShe.org’. Besides acting, music and social work, Lawrence is an avid scuba diver. She has also participated in the World Poker Tour Hollywood Home Game.
Childhood & Early Life
Sharon Lawrence was born on June 29, 1961 in Charlotte, North Carolina to Tom and Earlyn Lawrence. She has a brother named Mark Lawrence.
Her father worked as a television news reporter for WRAL-TV (an NBC-affiliated television station), while Earlyn was an education administrator and supervisor at Head Start, the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
Lawrence received her initial schooling in Charlotte, but completed her later school education from Needham B. Broughton High School in Raleigh. She graduated with a BA in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1983.
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In 1987, Sharon Lawrence performed in Broadway’s revival of 'Cabaret'. Three years later, she performed in another musical, 'Fiddler on the Roof'. Following that, in the decade of 1990s, she appeared in a number of television series and movies.
From 1990 to 1995, she played small roles in the 'Drone of Arc' episode of the TV series 'Civil Wars', the 'Parental Guidance Recommended' episode of the show 'Beverly Hills, 90210', the 'The Guy Can't Help It' episode of 'Cheers' and 'The 37's' episode of 'Star Trek: Voyager'.
In the 1990s, her movie appearances included playing Mary Carelli in 'Degree of Guilt', Jill in 'The Heidi Chronicles', Sada Sands in 'The Face on the Milk Carton', Beth Daniels in ‘The Shaggy Dog' and Sharon in 'Someone She Knows'.
In 1994, Lawrence appeared in the TV movie 'In the Line of Duty: The Price of Vengeance' and as a jewellery store clerk in 'Bloodfist V: Human Target' (Video). From 1993 to 1999, she essayed the role of Sylvia Costas in ABC series 'NYPD Blue', created by Steven Bochco.
Over the latter half of the 1990s, she worked in ‘Caroline in the City’ (TV series), ‘The Only Thrill’ (film), ‘Superman’ (TV series), ‘Fired Up’ (TV series), ‘Blue Moon’ (film), ‘Aftershock: Earthquake in New York’ (TV film) and ‘Bette’ (TV series). Her movie roles saw her enact Detective Kelly in ‘Gossip' (2000), Pattie Johnson in ‘The Uninvited’ (1996), Clair Ballard in 'Five Desperate Hours' (1997) and Nina Talbert in 'A Friend's Betrayal' (1996).
The beginning of the new century saw her starring in TV series like ‘Ladies Man’, ‘Wolf Lake’, ‘Boston Legal’, ‘Monk’, ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ and ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’. Her movie roles of this period include ‘Little Black Book’, ‘The Alibi’, ‘Philly’, ‘Fly Cherry’ and ‘Body of proof’ (2013). She also performed in the Broadway musical 'Chicago' in 2000, playing the role of Velma Kelly.
Lawrence did the role of Maisy Gibbons in ‘Desperate Housewives’ (2004-2005), Tess Wiatt in ‘Hidden Palms’ (2007), Jayne in ‘The Line’ (2009), Robbie Stevens in ‘Grey's Anatomy’ (2009) and Sylvia Baker in ‘One Tree Hill’ (2010-2011).
From 2011 to 2018, she worked in dozens of movies and TV series like 'How to Get Away with Murder', 'Blue Bloods', 'I Like You Just the Way I Am', 'Hearts of Christmas', 'Game of Silence', 'The After', 'Drop Dead Diva', 'Anabolic Life' and 'Deidra & Laney Rob A Train'.
Lawrence has grabbed the public attention in the recent years for her performances in TV shows like ‘Shameless', 'Criminal Minds', 'Dynasty' and 'Me, Myself and I'. She also appeared in the Christmas movie 'Poinsettias for Christmas' in 2018.
In 2019, she appeared as Louise Garbeau on the TV series 'On Becoming a God in Central Florida', while her movies 'Killing Eleanor’ and 'The Lost Husband' are at the post production stage.
Family & Personal Life
Sharon Lawrence married Dr. Tom Apostle in 2002 at the Greek Orthodox church Saint Sophia, Los Angeles.
She is the chairperson for the philanthropic arm of the ‘Women In Film’ foundation. She also supports ‘Global Green’ and ‘World Wildlife Fund’.
Lawrence performed in the 'Night at Sardi's' and 'What A Pair' show to support the ‘Alzheimer's Association’ and the ‘John Wayne Breast Cancer Centre’, respectively.
Sharon Lawrence got married at the same church, in which her ‘NYPD Blue’ character Sylvia Costas married Detective Andy Sipowicz.