Vicki Lawrence's lost residuals from Mama's Family

A story of death, cryogenesis, and money.

Warner Brothers

Look, we're not going to stop you if you want to get your head frozen when you die. That's your prerogative. But for the rest of us thawed-out folk trying our best to get through the day, cryogenics can look a little silly. Especially because nobody's quite sure the technology will be available to revive their frozen head later down the line. It's a lot to gamble on. 

Some of us are just more afraid of letting go than others. For them, it might not even be about the chance of being resuscitated in some technocratic future. Some people just want to feel a little control on their way out, and for that, we can't fault them.

But, when others' financial situation is affected by a decision to remain frozen in some warped suspended animation, the consequences can seem like they're outweighing the potential benefits.

That was the case with a sizable chunk of change that should've landed in Vicki Lawrence's pocket after Mama's Family. The domino-like events led to Lawrence being shortchanged for years.

In her 1995 memoir, Vicki!, Lawrence detailed the ways her life took a turn after the death of longtime producer (and Carol Burnett's ex-husband) Joe Hamilton.

"Since Joe died, because nothing was cleanly settled, there remains to this day much confusion over rights and residuals connected to Mama's Family. As far as I know, the only person who gets paid for the Mama character is the owner, Jenna McMahon, one of the original writers of the first skit.

"[McMahon]'s partner Dick Clair passed away years ago, is currently frozen, and so are his assets. From what I've heard, his residuals go to a cryogenic organization, and his family battling them about it."

While it is unclear how much Lawrence would benefit were any of these funds unfrozen, it does remain true that she was underpaid, for a long time, for one of TV's most iconic characters. Residuals for a show like that should be enough to set an actor up for life.

Watch Mama's Family on MeTV!

Sundays at 4 & 4:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
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CannonsMustache 8 days ago
What exactly was the point to this story since you didn't explain why it's confusing? It's almost as if an AI chat program wrote this story.
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