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Also Known As: Joey Lawrence, Joseph Lawrence Mignona Jr. Died:
Born: April 20, 1976 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Montgomery, Pennsylvania, USA Profession: actor, singer, director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An engaging teen star of 1990s television sitcoms, actor and singer Joey Lawrence became a star thanks to his portrayal of the intellectually challenged, but loveable Joey Russo on the hit series "Blossom" (NBC, 1990-95). Thanks to Russo's dumb charm and catchphrase, "Whoa!", Lawrence was popular among the teenage girl population, which allowed him to branch out into other areas, including the release of his first album, appropriately titled Joey Lawrence (1993). Once "Blossom" went off the air, he parlayed his popularity into the short-lived sitcom, "Brotherly Love" (NBC/The WB, 1995-97), which showcased real-life brothers Matthew and Andrew. Following two rather forgettable television movies with his brothers, Lawrence settled into a string of mediocre made-for-television movies and feature films that did nothing but dim the light on his career. But in the new millennium, Lawrence rose up again, first appearing in a recurring role for the ambitious drama series, "American Dreams" (NBC, 2002-05). Showing off his dancing ability, he earned third place overall in the third season of the ratings juggernaut "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ), which helped rekindle interest in his celebrity. Now...

An engaging teen star of 1990s television sitcoms, actor and singer Joey Lawrence became a star thanks to his portrayal of the intellectually challenged, but loveable Joey Russo on the hit series "Blossom" (NBC, 1990-95). Thanks to Russo's dumb charm and catchphrase, "Whoa!", Lawrence was popular among the teenage girl population, which allowed him to branch out into other areas, including the release of his first album, appropriately titled Joey Lawrence (1993). Once "Blossom" went off the air, he parlayed his popularity into the short-lived sitcom, "Brotherly Love" (NBC/The WB, 1995-97), which showcased real-life brothers Matthew and Andrew. Following two rather forgettable television movies with his brothers, Lawrence settled into a string of mediocre made-for-television movies and feature films that did nothing but dim the light on his career. But in the new millennium, Lawrence rose up again, first appearing in a recurring role for the ambitious drama series, "American Dreams" (NBC, 2002-05). Showing off his dancing ability, he earned third place overall in the third season of the ratings juggernaut "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ), which helped rekindle interest in his celebrity. Now taking on a more adult persona, Lawrence parlayed the rediscovered attention into highly-rated television movies like "My Fake Finacé" (ABC Family, 2009- ) and the sitcom "Melissa & Joey" (ABC Family, 2010- ), proving that one can have new life in Hollywood with just a little determination.

Born on April 20, 1976 in Montgomery, PA, Lawrence was raised by his father, Joseph Sr., an insurance broker, and his mother, Donna, who managed the careers of all three sons, including Matthew and Andrew. When he was just three years old, Lawrence began appearing in local commercials and quickly moved on to national spots, including one for Cracker Jack. In 1981, he appeared on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (NBC, 1962-1992), where he sang "Give My Regards to Broadway." The exposure led to playing precocious orphan, Joey, on the popular sitcom "Gimme a Break" (NBC, 1981-87), starring Nell Carter. Lawrence joined the cast during the show's third season and stayed through to its cancellation in 1987. During the show's run, he made his feature debut with a supporting role in the comedy "Summer Rental" (1985), starring John Candy as a hapless father and husband trying to give his family a nice summer vacation. Lawrence next starred as a boy fighting an electrical force trying to take over his home in "Pulse" (1988), which he followed with a supporting role in "Chains of Gold" (1991), as a drug-selling teen saved by a kindhearted social worker (John Travolta).

Lawrence returned to regular series status after landing the role of the intellectually clueless Joey Russo on "Blossom" (NBC, 1990-95), whose catch-line, "Whoa!" entered the cultural lexicon and helped turn him into a star. At the height of his popularity on the show, Lawrence turned back to music and released his first album, Joey Lawrence, which featured the single "Nothin' My Love Can't Fix." Following a cameo in "Radioland Murders" (1994) as a singer crooning Irving Berlin's classic "What'll I Do," he voiced one of the teens in the animated "A Goofy Movie" (1995). Meanwhile, after five seasons of "Blossom," which declined in the ratings over the years, NBC cut ties and cancelled the show. Lawrence remained active, however, starring alongside brothers Matthew and Andrew in "Brotherly Love" (NBC/The WB, 1995-97), a sitcom that pitted the eldest brother (Lawrence) against his stepmother (Claire Roman), while trying to run his late father's auto shop. Meanwhile, Lawrence starred in "Prince for a Day" (NBC, 1995), a contemporary take on Mark Twain's classic, The Prince and the Pauper. Later that season, "Brotherly Love" was cancelled by NBC, only to have fledgling network, The WB, pick up the show and add it to its Sunday night lineup.

The same year that The WB took on "Brotherly Love," the Lawrence brothers starred in "Brothers of the Frontier" (ABC, 1996), a Western set in the Allegheny mountains of the late 1700s, that depicted them as three siblings separated from their parents and forced to contend with a vengeful land baron who runs them off their homestead. In1997, Lawrence made his directorial debut with an episode of "Brotherly Love," only to see the show yanked later that year. He next starred opposite brother Andrew in the Disney Channel Original Movie, "Horse Sense" (1999), which was followed up with a sequel, "Jumping Ship" (2001) that added brother Matthew to the mix. Meanwhile, a more grown-up Lawrence appeared in the cheesy horror movie "Urban Legends: Final Cut" (2000) and co-starred in the low-budget thriller "Do You Wanna Know a Secret?" (2002). Lawrence was next cast on the nostalgic drama series, "American Dreams" (NBC, 2002-05), which was set against the backdrop of the tumultuous 1960s and followed a 15-year-old girl (Brittany Snow) as she pursues her dream of being on "American Bandstand." Lawrence had a recurring role as a producer for the famed dance show.

After playing a detective in the little-seen erotic thriller, "Trois 2: Pandora's Box" (2002), Lawrence returned to regular series work with "Run of the House" (The WB, 2003-04), a sitcom about four siblings living together and running their father's store after the parents leave the cold weather and their children behind in Michigan for the dry heat of Arizona. He next starred in the made-for-television romantic comedy "Love Rules!" (ABC Family, 2004), playing a groom struggling to maintain control over wedding plans with his bride-to-be (Maggie Lawson), leading to both lovers questioning their engagement. The following year, Lawrence, who by this time was going by his given name Joseph, co-starred opposite Jennifer Love Hewitt in "Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber" (2005), a made-for-Oxygen Media movie that depicted him as the gay sidekick of an ambitious young ad executive (Hewitt) determined to do anything to climb the corporate ladder. Taking a turn toward science fiction, he starred as an android stranded in the wilderness with a down-and-out human (Scott Bairstow) after their ship is attacked by mutants in "Android Apocalypse" (Sci-Fi, 2006).

In 2006, Lawrence joined 10 other celebrities for the third season of "Dancing With the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ), a weekly competition pairing professional dancers with inexperienced stars; many of whom having two left feet. Lawrence displayed considerable talent right from the start, earning praise from all three judges (Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli) for his Cha Cha in week one. He continued to impress over the ensuing weeks, while becoming an audience favorite. Lawrence and professional dance partner Edyta Sliwinska placed third in the competition. In a rare stage performance, he made his Broadway debut in the leading role of Billy Flynn in a revival of the always-popular "Chicago" (2007), which he followed up with a hosting gig on another dance competition show, "Master of Dance" (TLC, 2008). Returning to made-for-television movies, he starred opposite Melissa Joan Hart in "My Fake Fiancé" (ABC Family, 2009), in which they played a non-couple who plan a fake wedding in order to make some fast cash, only to find themselves actually falling in love. The ratings success of the pairing led ABC Family to reunite Lawrence and Hart for the sitcom "Melissa & Joey" (2010- ), a sitcom about a wild child-turned-local politician (Hart) whose family becomes embroiled in a scandal, leading to her hiring one of the victims (Lawrence) to be the family's nanny.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Havana Heat (2009)
3.
4.
 PANDORA'S BOX (2002) Detective Anderson
5.
 Christmas Adventure, A (2001) Voice Of Bad Wolf
6.
 Desperate But Not Serious (2001) Darby
7.
 Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000) Graham Manning
8.
 Tequila Body Shots (1999) Johnny Orpheus
9.
 Brothers of the Frontier (1996) Ethan Frye
10.
 Goofy Movie, A (1995) Voice Of Chad
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1979:
Began appearing in commercials at age three
1981:
Appeared on "The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson", singing, "Give My Regards to Broadway"
1982:
TV-movie debut, "Scamps"
1983:
TV series debut, "Gimme a Break"
1985:
Feature acting debut, "Summer Rental"
1988:
Provided the voice of Oliver for Disney's "Oliver & Company"
:
Cast as Joey Russo in the series "Blossom"
1993:
Released solo album entitled "Joey Lawrence"
:
Starred in sitcom "Brotherly Love" with brothers Matthew and Andrew
1997:
Made directing debut with episode of sitcom "Brotherly Love"
2000:
Acted in "Urban Legends: The Final Cut"
2002:
Landed role on NBC drama "American Dreams"
2003:
Starred as Kurt in the WB sitcom "Run of the House"
2006:
Joined the third season of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars"
2007:
Made Broadway debut as Billy Flynn in the Broadway revival of "Chicago"
2009:
Co-starred with Melissa Joan Hart in the ABC Family romantic comedy "My Fake Fiance"
2010:
Re-teamed with Hart to star in the ABC Family series "Melissa & Joey"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Southern California: Los Angeles , California -

Notes

"'Donny and Marie' was the first show on TV that I really was into. I watched it every week when I was about three or four years old. Watching Donny sing and dance made me realize that I wanted to be a performer, too. I was watching someone on TV doing what I wanted to do." --Joey Lawrence

"I don't really remember much, other than there was very little air, and it was really dark in there. It was sort of like reverting back to the womb." - Lawrence on what it was like to be pressed into the bosom of Neil Carter. Entertainment Weekly October 2002

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Kellie Martin. Actor. Lawrence and Martin dated when Lawrence was 17.
wife:
Michelle Vella. Married August 24, 2002; filed for divorce November 2004.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Donna Mignona. Manager. Born c. 1952; manages her three sons' careers.
father:
Joseph Mignona Sr. Insurance-broker. Born c. 1949.
brother:
Matthew Lawrence. Actor. Born c. 1980; appeared on "Gimme a Break" and "Brotherly Love" with Joe.
brother:
Andrew Lawrence. Actor. Born c. 1988; co-starred on "Brotherly Love" with Joe and Matthew.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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