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Hollywood legend spends her birthday in Philly

Famous as Thelma Harper and “Mama,” Vicki Lawrence sheds some light on a little-known ailment

District Attorney Seth Williams and Katie Miccarelli raised about$8,000 for the “Dancing for Our Future Stars” event.
District Attorney Seth Williams and Katie Miccarelli raised about$8,000 for the “Dancing for Our Future Stars” event.Read more

EMMY AWARD-winning actress and comedian Vicki Lawrence was in town last week doing interviews and made the Daily News her first media stop. It was also her birthday, and at age 66 she looks as beautiful and energetic as ever.

The former "Mama's Family" jokester was promoting awareness of chronic idiopathic urticaria, or CIU, a form of chronic hives having no known cause, with which she was diagnosed four years ago.

"I woke up with my hands itching one morning, and I said to my husband, 'I want to jump off the balcony into the bay,' 'cause that sounds good - the cold water," Lawrence told me Thursday.

"Many of the people I've talked to through this program have been looking for answers or relief for literally years, and have been unable to find something that works for them. I decided to put my name out there and be a spokesperson."

Lawrence is helping to rally patients suffering from the little-known condition by telling her own experiences about CIU via a new national education campaign called "CIU & You." She said about 1.5 million people suffer from it. Now you know.

Baby boy for TV gal

CBS3 reporter Syma Chowdhry and her husband, CBS3 photographer Andy Zaremba, celebrated the birth of their first son, Zane Amjad, on March 19. Young Zane weighed in at 7 pounds and measured 20 inches. He is the couple's first child.

Dancing for good

District Attorney Seth Williams cut a rug recently when he and dance partner Katie Miccarelli performed for the Independence Mission Schools as the Catholic-education organization celebrated its inaugural gala, "Dancing for Our Future Stars."

The dance competition matched 12 couples against each other at the Crystal Tea Room (100 E. Penn Square) to see who could raise the most money for the students of Independence Mission Schools.

"Once they explained the [cause] to me, I got past the fact I might totally embarrass myself in front of 1,000 people," Williams told me.

"I realized it may be worth it to raise money for the schoolchildren. Everywhere I go, I tell people the best way to help me do my job to prevent crime is by creating quality educational opportunities for kids. That's exactly what Independence Mission Schools do."

Williams and Miccarelli were originally planning to waltz to "That's Life" by Frank Sinatra, but Williams quipped that that plan didn't "showcase my rhythmic talent."

They swapped it out for the mambo as seen in "Dirty Dancing," with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey.

The event raised $275,000 for the program, with Williams and Miccarelli securing about $8,000 of the total.

Eagles newbie QB spotted in town

The unofficial new starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, Sam Bradford, was at Davio's restaurant Thursday night with a lady friend. They nibbled on cheesesteak spring rolls, filet mignon, arugula salad and crab chowder. Inside sources say they left a generous tip before heading out.

On Twitter: @PhillyGossipDN