Laura was born on Saint Patrick’s Day with her fraternal twin, Lynn. They began their acting career at 5 as “Lullaby Kids” in THE WIZARD OF OZ at Camp Monroe in the Catskills. Laura left her twin behind in her pursuit of acting and found herself working professionally before she hit her teens.
Laura trained at Boston University School of the Arts, Rutgers University and Herbert Berghof Studios where she studied with Uta Hagen, Carol Rosenfeld and Ken McMillan.
Laura appeared on Broadway in SMILE with Jodi Benson (the little Mermaid). Her off B’way credits include THE COCKTAIL HOUR with Nancy Marchand, Bruce Davison and Keene Curtis, OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY with Kevin Conway, and WELDED directed by Jose’ Quintero. She toured nationally with SHOWBOAT (with Pat Harrington and Anita Gillette), DOONESBURY (with Greg Edelman and Marin Maisie), OLIVER (with Andrea McCardle and Richard Kline) and MY FAIR LADY (with Jodi Benson and Ian Ogilvy). Her extensive regional credits include the Arena Stage(DC), Huntington Theatre ( Boston), Cleveland Playhouse, McCarter Theatre, and the NC Shakespeare Festival in roles that ranged from Lady Macbeth to Miss Hannigan. L.A. credits include 4 plays for the Pasadena Playhouse, Will Geer Botanicum, Westwood Playhouse, Tiffany Theatre, Fountain Theatre, Deaf West and the Celtic Arts Centre. She is a member of the ROAD THEATRE COMPANY where she appeared in the award winning productions of IDLE WHEELS ,TAINTED BLOOD and PURSUED BY HAPPINESS and LAKE ANNE.
You may have seen Laura and her actor husband, Frank Collison recurring on the NBC hit, MY NAME IS EARL. Some of her other TV and film credits include the pilot, SHREDD, playing Jason Lee’s mother, CASTLE, HOBOS, CRASH, ER, TORCHWOOD, LAW AND ORDER, LA, CRIMINAL MINDS, THE WEST WING, JUDGING AMY, BOSTON PUBLIC, THE GILMORE GIRLS, PARTY OF FIVE, L.A. LAW,CHEERS, and many independent films.
Laura has been on the faculty of the HOWARD FINE ACTING ACTING STUDIO in Hollywood for over 16 years and now at their satellite school in Australia. She teaches a class for actors with disability for Media Access in North Hollywood and in Berkeley. She was honored for her more than 17 years of service for that community. Ms. Gardner has taught in NYC at HB Studios, Stella Adler Institute, and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She also taught at the NC School of the Arts, Circle Theatre (Nashville), Palm Beach Community College, and the George Street Playhouse (NJ). In Los Angeles she has taught at Santa Monica College, Actors’ Center International, West Coast Ensemble, Women in Theatre and the ROAD THEATRE. She teaches workshops all over the country as well as in Great Britain. She was the drama consultant for the Compton School District . She has been a featured artist at the LAST FRONTIER THEATRE CONFERENCE in Valdez, Alaska for the last 7 years.
She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Frank Collison, his 3 children, Mollie, their german wired haired pointer and Dino, the golden/chow. She continues to work on the stage while pursuing her TV and Film work.
Laura’s Recent Online Interview with Kim Estes at Actors Entertainment