On June 23, 1997, Sons of the Desert around the world were very saddened to learn of the passing of Rosina Lawrence Marchisio McCabe. All of us knew and loved her as Mary Roberts in Laurel and Hardy's Way Out West. Members of the Way Out West Tent had the privilege of meeting Rosina and making her an honorary member of our tent, during the Second International Sons of the Desert Convention in 1980.
She was born in Canada, on December 30, 1912, to George and Annie Louise Lawrence. The family moved to California in 1921. There, her father found work as a set builder in the studios and was able to introduce his daughter to casting agents. At the age of sixteen, Rosina took up dancing, as therapy to recover from a paralysis to her left side. This led to parts as a dancer. At twenty, Miss Lawrence was employed at Fox Studios where she made a number of films with Alice Faye, Edward Everett Horton, and others before obtaining a long-term contract with Hal Roach Studios in 1936.
Her first film for the "Lot Of Fun" was entitled Kelly The Second, with Patsy Kelly. In addition to Nobody's Baby and Mr. Cinderella, she starred with Charley Chase in On the Wrong Trek, where she and Charley sang and danced to Charley's composition "Let's Make it a Big Day." She also worked with Chase in his final Hal Roach comedy, Neighborhood House.
Aside from Way Out West, Rosina may best be remembered for her role as the beautiful blonde school teacher in the Our Gang series. She appeared in General Spanky, the only Our Gang feature, and the Academy Award winning Bored Of Education. This was the only Our Gang film to receive such an honor.
Right after completing her work on Way Out West, she starred with Jack Haley and Patsy Kelly in Pick A Star, in which Laurel and Hardy also appeared. Following her work at the Roach Studios, she worked in Italian film with the fabled brother team of Eduardo and Peppino Di Filippo.
Miss Lawrence left films in 1939, when she married a distinguished Italian-American judge, Juvenal Marchisio, of Brooklyn. Judge Marchisio died in 1973. In 1976, Rosina attended her first Sons of the Desert function in New York. She attended numerous Sons of the Desert events, including those in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. On June 8, 1987, Miss Lawrence married acclaimed author and Sons of the Desert co-founder, John McCabe.