cover image Vicki!: The True-Life Adventures of Miss Fireball

Vicki!: The True-Life Adventures of Miss Fireball

Vicki Lawrence. Simon & Schuster, $22.5 (238pp) ISBN 978-0-684-80286-2

``Discovered'' by Carol Burnett while still in high school, Lawrence became a cast member of Burnett's TV variety show, then starred as the title character in the spin-off sitcom Mama's Family-a career trajectory that eventually landed her a spot as the host of Vicki!, one of TV's most popular talk shows. With Eliot (My Life-In Spite of Myself), Lawrence here scripts her life story in a charmingly rambling fashion, providing an alternately lighthearted, serious and sometimes catty look at a show-biz lifestyle. Accounts of various battles with producers, directors and production companies-such as the one that led to the cancellation of Vicki!, despite its commercial success, in 1994-are counterbalanced by affectionate tributes to Burnett and other celebs Lawrence has worked with, and by loving portraits of her husband, Al Schultz, and their children. Fans of daytime TV will find the book of particular interest for its behind-the-scenes look at the operations of a talk show. Photos not seen by PW. (May)