The Everett Collection

Vicki Lawrence was busy bouncing between game show and sitcom sets in the '80s

In the 1980s, Vicki Lawrence kept herself busy. Not only was Lawrence the star of Mama's Family, which lasted for six seasons, but she was also the host of NBC's daytime game show Win, Lose or Draw in 1987.

Lawrence was a big fan of game shows and an avid contestant. She was a contestant on include The $10,000 Pyramid (1973), Super Password (1984) and Match Game (1973).

She hosted Win, Lose or Draw for the show's entire two seasons.

"The game show is pretty much every other weekend," Lawrence said in a 1987 interview with Pensacola News Journal. "It's busy, but it keeps me off the streets."

Lawrence would spend Monday through Friday on the set of Mama's Family, host the game show every other weekend and then come home to another part-time gig — being a mom to two children. She was so busy, no wonder she thought about moving to Hawaii for retirement in 1979.

Win, Lose or Draw was a game where two teams of three men and three women competed. One person from each group was given the name of a famous person and had to communicate with the rest of the team by drawing pictures.

"The game show is a lot of fun," Lawrence said. "It feels like a crash course in Dick Clark. I thought it would be much easier, but it is chaotic. It's pretty much a circus. I'm hyper by the end of the day. But I love to meet the celebrities who head the teams."

According to Lawrence, the hardest part about hosting the game show was not playing a character and remembering to be herself. She said playing the role of Mama in Mama's Family was a much easier job for her.

Her role as Mama both on The Carol Burnett Show and on Mama's Family helped her pursue her love for game shows in the form of a part-time job. And it was her chance to show her true self on-screen, away from Mama's glasses and gray hair.

Lawrence said she was approached to do Mama's Family in the ninth season of The Carol Burnett Show. At the time, executive producer Joe Hamilton, Burnett's then-husband, encouraged Lawrence to take the reins.

"I did not think I had the self-confidence to handle it, but he said I could come back to the Burnett show," Lawrence said. "I didn't want to come back with my tail tucked between my legs. Besides, I had just been pregnant for nine months, and I didn't want to be fat and old like Mama. Carol, though, she was thrilled with the idea. But it wasn't until a couple years after the Burnett show that I decided to tackle it."

To come full circle, in 1983, the Harper family was on Family Feud in the episode 'Family Feud.' In 1988, the Harper family went on Jeopardy! in the episode 'Mama on Jeopardy!'

Over 30 years later, Lawrence and her real family went on the celebrity version of Family Feud, where her family competed against Ed Asner and his family. 

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