Douglas Lawrence Osowski (born January 1, 1969), better known as Mr. Lawrence, is an American animator, cartoonist, director, writer, actor and comedian, best known for his work on Rocko's Modern Life and Spongebob Squarepants.
Born in East Brunswick, New Jersey, Osowski worked in his family's air conditioning installment business from early childhood up until high school, when he started taking interest in drawing comic strips. After graduating The Kubert School note , he was picked up by Nickelodeon as a layout artist on The Ren & Stimpy Show. When that show ended, Joe Murry hired him as a story artist on Rocko's Modern Life. Lawrence eventually worked himself up to being a director and voicing the regular character Filbert Turtle.
Lawrence was one of several key Rocko staff members who migrated over to writer Stephen Hillenberg's other, more successful show, and has remained on-staff throughout its long run as a head writer, story artist and voice of the show's villain Plankton, along with a handful of other reoccurring characters. He's also regularly performed standup comedy in LA since moving there in The '80s.
And no, he was not the subject of the film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.
Projects Mr. Lawrence has worked on
- The Ren & Stimpy Show - Layout assistant. His first animation job out of college.
- Looks Can Kill - 30 second short. Writer, director, producer.
- Rocko's Modern Life - Writer, director, storyboard artist, voice of Filbert Turtle and Peter Wolfe. Created the Meet The Fatheads sequences. Returned for the 2017 special Static Cling.
- The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat - Writer, storyboard artist, character designer, director, animator, various voices. First show not to air on Nickelodeon.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic's The Food Album - Designed the cover.
- Spongebob Squarepants - Writer, story editor (from season 10 onward), storyboard artist, voice of Plankton, Larry the Lobster, the Realistic Talking Fish Head Announcer and various others. Worked on both movies in more or less the same departments.
- Camp Lazlo - Voice of Edward, Dave and Ping Pong. One of his few projects in which he only worked as an actor.
- The Haunted World Of El Super Beasto - Storyboard artist, prop designer, additional story material. Was partially responsible for it's knockoff-brand John Kricfalusi art style.
- Voice Over - Writer, director, star. Does his "MY LEG!" scream on-camera and it is glorious.
- Joey To The World - Voice of Joey.
- Mighty Magiswords - Story editor, various voices.
- Loogey & The Frog - Creator. Pilot made in collaboration with Copernicus Studios.
- The Kumquat Kwadruplets: Birthday Breakdown - (Deep breath) Creator, writer, director, storyboard artist, co-executive producer, voice director, character designer, lyricist, voice of Jaime, Manny and the announcer. A recently-completed pilot for Nickelodeon. If picked up, this will be his first project of his own creation.
- Deranged Animation: Pretty much everything with his name on it, especially the ones where he did character layout. The insane faces you see in most of those cartoons listed above? Chances are, he drew them.
- Descended Creator: Save for The Ren & Stimpy Show and The Haunted World Of El Super Beasto, Lawrence's voice is in every show he's worked on. Camp Lazlo is currently the only show where he was only hired as an actor.
- Gross-Up Close-Up: Of the "overly detailed painting" variety seen in most cartoons during and after The Renaissance Age of Animation. It helps that he worked with the guy who did it first.note
- Large Ham: Most of the characters he voices. Even Filbert could get a little over-the-top sometimes.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: Though he's usually easy for sensitive ears to pick out, most of his characters are distinct enough that most couldn't tell that they were all voiced by the same actor. For example, Plankton sounds nothing like Filbert.
- Overly Long Gag: A staple of his stand-up routine was to repeatedly adjust and re-adjust the mic stand, as if struggling to find a comfortable height for himself, eventually taking it apart and handing it to audience members as he continues to feign frustration.
- Pen Name: Born Douglas Lawrence Osowski, he began signing his cartoon strips as Mr. Lawrence as homage to Bill Waterson, who would sign his Calvin and Hobbes strips with only his last name (that, and Osowski isn't as catchy).
- Production Posse: If Joe Murrey, Stephen Hillenberg, Tom Kenny, Carlos Alazraqui Dan Povenmire and/or Jeff "Swampy" Marsh's names are on a project, chances are so is his. Most of them met on Rocko's Modern Life and migrated over to Spongebob Squarepants a few years later.
- Renaissance Man: As you can see above, he's held pretty much every major job there is to be held in TV animation. So far, the only role he hasn't had is creator, and even that might change if The Kumquat Kwadruplets gets picked up.
- Stock Scream: He's the guy who did the infamous "My leg!" stock scream for Spongebob.
- Suddenly SHOUTING!: Characters he plays have a tendancy to do this.
- What Could Have Been
- "Weird Al" Yankovic so loved the cover illustration Lawrence had done for The Food Album that at one point, they were in talks to develop the monster character (whom they dubbed Hank) into future projects, such as a suit for tours or even an animated movie. Traces of the character show up in the Fatheads segments of Rocko's Modern Life. He was also Al's first choice to direct his landmark video for "Jurassic Park", but Lawrence was too caught up with Rocko and instead recommended his colleague Mark Osbourne.
- He was Stephen Hillenberg's first choice to play Spongebob, using the same voice he'd eventually use for Plankton, before Tom Kenny was cast. In fact, the deep, heroic voice Spongebob occasionally dips into is Kenny gently making fun of Lawrence's voice.