With his writing partner Robert E. Lee, who died in 1994, Lawrence wrote plays and penned the books and/or lyrics for a number of musicals. His 39 works for the stage include such famous titles as Inherit the Wind, Auntie Mame and its musical version Mame, and Dear World, as well as Look, Ma, I'm Dancin'!, Shangri-La, The Gang's All Here, Only in America, A Call on Kuprin, Diamond Orchid, The Incomparable Max, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, and First Monday in October.
Lawrence was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1915. He met Lee in New York in 1942 while Lawrence was writing for CBS radio. Both men joined the army later that year and helped found the Armed Forces Radio Service. After leaving the army, they began writing for commercial radio as a team before turning to the stage in 1948 with Look Ma, I'm Dancin'!.
Lawrence is survived by his companion, two nieces, and a nephew.