Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence (born April 16, 1965) is an American stand up comedian, actor, producer, talk show host, writer, and former Golden Gloves boxer. Lawrence came to fame during the 1990s, establishing a Hollywood career as a leading actor. He got his start playing Maurice Warfield in What's Happening Now!! (1987-1988). He was a leading actor in the Fox television sitcom Martin, the Bad Boys franchise, and House Party, Boomerang, Wild Hogs, Nothing to Lose, Blue Streak, Life, Big Momma's House, and A Thin Line Between Love and Hate.
|Birth name||Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence|
|Born||April 16, 1965|
Frankfurt, Hesse, West Germany
|Notable works and roles|
The fourth of six children, Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence was born on April 16, 1965, in Frankfurt, Germany, to African-American parents. His father, John Lawrence, was serving in the U.S. military at the time of his birth. Lawrence was named after civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and U.S. President John F. Kennedy. When Lawrence was seven, his father left the military, and the family moved from Germany back to the United States, settling in Landover, Maryland, in the Washington, D.C., area. Following his parents' divorce when he was eight years old, Lawrence rarely saw his father, who was a police officer. His mother, Chlora (née Bailey), worked several jobs, including as a sales representative and cashier at various department stores to support her family.
During his teen years, Lawrence excelled at boxing. While living in Maryland, Lawrence attended Eleanor Roosevelt High School and Friendly High School, and he lived in Apple Grove, becoming a Mid-Atlantic Golden Gloves boxing contender.
In his early days, Lawrence did comedy shows in the Washington, D.C., area and supported himself through odd jobs. Comedian Ritch Snyder saw his act and suggested Lawrence make connections in New York. Lawrence ended up moving to New York City and found his way to the legendary The Improv. Shortly after appearing at The Improv, Lawrence won a performance spot on Star Search. He did well on the show and made it to the final round, but did not win. However, executives at Columbia Pictures Television saw Martin's performance and offered him the role of Maurice Warfield in What's Happening Now!!; this was his first acting job. Upon cancellation of that show, Lawrence found bit parts in various films and television series. His breakthrough role was as Cee in Do the Right Thing. Other roles followed in films such as the House Party series, Talkin' Dirty After Dark, and the Eddie Murphy vehicle Boomerang. During this period, entertainment mogul Russell Simmons selected him to host the groundbreaking series Def Comedy Jam on HBO. Def Comedy Jam gave many comedians (including Chris Tucker, Dave Chappelle, Mike Epps, Bernie Mac and Cedric the Entertainer) mainstream exposure.
During his stint with Def Comedy Jam, Lawrence appeared in his own hit series, Martin, which aired on Fox. The show ran from 1992 to 1997 and was an enormous success. Martin was the flagship of Fox's Thursday-night line-up, which drew millions of viewers away from NBC's "Must See TV" line-up. He hosted Saturday Night Live on February 19, 1994, where he made crude remarks about women's genitalia and personal hygiene; the monologue was completely edited out of NBC reruns and syndicated versions, and Lawrence was banned from the show for life. Martin's ratings continued to skyrocket so much that Fox became more of a contender against NBC and came closer to being considered among the top television networks. In 1995 he stood along side Will Smith in Bad Boys with wide success.
After Martin ended its run in 1997, Lawrence found work in comedy films. He often starred as the second lead opposite actors including Eddie Murphy, Danny DeVito, and Tim Robbins. Many of his films were blockbusters at the box office, including Nothing to Lose, Life, Blue Streak, and Big Momma's House. He also starred in critical- and box-office failures, including Black Knight and National Security. Regardless, his salary steadily increased to over $10 million per film role. He continues to work in film, with such films as Big Momma's House 2, which opened at No. 1 at North American box office and grossed almost $28 million its first weekend, and Wild Hogs (2007), in which he played a bored suburbanite seeking adventure on the open road in a biker comedy alongside John Travolta, Tim Allen and William H. Macy.
In 2006, Lawrence appeared on Inside the Actors Studio, during which Lawrence briefly brought back to life some of the characters he had portrayed on Martin. He also appeared in Open Season as Boog, one of the main characters of the film. The movie also starred Ashton Kutcher, Debra Messing, and Gary Sinise.
In 2008, Lawrence starred in Disney's College Road Trip co-starring with Raven-Symoné. It was his first G-rated film, but not his first appearance in a children's film: he supplied a voice for Open Season (2006) opposite Ashton Kutcher.
At the 2009 BET Awards he appeared in a spoof movie trailer with Jamie Foxx for a fictional movie, The Skank Robbers, that featured their respective television characters Sheneneh Jenkins and Ugly Wanda. In 2010, Fox announced that it was producing a film based on the sketch, featuring Foxx, Lawrence, and actress Halle Berry.
In January 2013, it was announced that Lawrence and Kelsey Grammer were considering pairing up to star in a comedy for Lionsgate TV. Partners, paired the two actors as Chicago lawyers from "vastly different backgrounds who unexpectedly meet in court on the worst day of their lives." The show premiered August 4, 2014, but was cancelled after one season after receiving poor reviews.
In 2020, Lawrence reprised his role as Detective Marcus Burnett in the third installment of the Bad Boys franchise, Bad Boys for Life, again alongside Will Smith. The film was considered a financial success, grossing $112 million in its first four days of release.
Relationships and familyEdit
Lawrence was engaged to actress Lark Voorhies in 1993. He married Miss Virginia USA, Patricia Southall, in 1995. Lawrence and Southall have a daughter, Jasmine Page (born January 15, 1996). They divorced in 1997. In 1997, Lawrence began a relationship with Shamicka Gibbs. They married on July 10, 2010, at Lawrence's Beverly Hills home. Actors Eddie Murphy and Denzel Washington were among the 120 wedding guests; Lawrence and Gibbs have two daughters, Iyanna Faith (born November 9, 2000) and Amara Trinity (born August 20, 2002). Lawrence filed for divorce from Gibbs on April 25, 2012, citing irreconcilable differences and asking for joint legal and physical custody of the children.
Lawrence owns a farm near Purcellville, Virginia. For several years, he owned a large mansion in the Beverly Park community in Beverly Hills, where he wedded Gibbs. However, following their divorce, the property was available for lease at $200,000 per month in June 2012. In 2013, the property was up for sale for $26.5 million, and eventually he sold it for $17.2 million to Bruce Makowsky, buying an Encino, Los Angeles property for $6.63 million.
Arrests, lawsuits and health problemsEdit
On May 8, 1996, he became increasingly erratic and was arrested after he brandished a pistol in the middle of an intersection on Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles, screaming, "They're trying to kill me!" He was again hospitalized, with his public-relations agent citing exhaustion and dehydration as the reasons for this episode. On July 29, 1996 he tried to take a 9mm gun onto a plane and received two years probation and a fine.
In January 1997, Lawrence's Martin co-star Tisha Campbell-Martin filed a lawsuit against him, alleging sexual harassment and abuse both on and off set. By April 1997, Campbell had settled the lawsuit, and returned to appear in the last two episodes of the series. In March 1997, Lawrence was arrested after punching a man in a Hollywood nightclub.
During August 1999, Lawrence slipped into a three-day coma after collapsing from heat exhaustion while jogging in 100 °F (38 °C) heat in preparation for Big Momma's House while wearing heavy clothing and a "plastic suit." He recovered in the hospital after entering a near fatal coma due to a body temperature of 107 °F (42 °C), his breathing assisted by a ventilator.
|1989||Do the Right Thing||Cee|
|1991||Talkin' Dirty After Dark||Terry Wilson|
|House Party 2||Bilal|
|1994||You So Crazy||Himself||Stand-up film|
Executive producer and writer
|1995||Bad Boys||Detective Marcus Burnett||Nominated - MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo (with Will Smith)|
Nominated - MTV Movie Award for Best Action Sequence
|1996||A Thin Line Between Love and Hate||Darnell Wright||Also director|
Narrator, executive producer, writer and music supervisor
|1997||Nothing to Lose||Terrence "T-Paul" Paul Davidson|
|1999||Life||Claude Banks||Nominated - Blockbuster Entertainment Awards for Favorite Comedy Team (with Eddie Murphy)|
Nominated - NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Motion Picture
|Blue Streak||Miles Logan/Detective Malone|
|2000||Big Momma's House||Malcolm Turner/Big Momma||Also executive producer|
Nominated - Blockbuster Entertainment Awards for Favorite Actor - Comedy
Nominated - Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Wipeout
Nominated - MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance
Nominated - Kids' Choice Awards for Favorite Movie Actor
|2001||What's the Worst That Could Happen?||Kevin Caffrey||Also executive producer|
|Black Knight||Jamal Walker/Skywalker||Also executive producer|
|2002||Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat||Himself||Stand-up film|
Also executive producer and writer
|2003||National Security||Earl Montgomery||Also executive producer|
|Bad Boys II||Detective Marcus Burnett||Nominated - MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo (shared with Will Smith)|
|2005||Rebound||Coach Roy McCormick/
|Also executive producer|
|2006||Big Momma's House 2||Malcolm Turner/Big Momma||Also executive producer|
|Open Season||Boog||Voice only|
|2007||Wild Hogs||Bobby Davis|
|2008||Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins||Dr. RJ Stevens/Roscoe Jenkins, Jr.|
|College Road Trip||Chief James Porter|
|2010||Death at a Funeral||Ryan Barnes|
|2011||Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son||Malcolm Turner/Big Momma|
|2016||Martin Lawrence: Doin' Time||Himself||Stand-up film|
|2019||The Beach Bum||Captain Wack|
|2020||Bad Boys for Life||Detective Marcus Burnett|
|1987–1988||What's Happening Now!!||Maurice Warfield||22 episodes|
|1989||A Little Bit Strange||Sydney Masterson||Unsold pilot|
|1990||Kid 'n Play||Wiz (voice)|
|1990||Hammer, Slammer, & Slade||Willie||TV movie|
|1991||Private Times||Mike||Unaired TV pilot|
|1992–1993||Def Comedy Jam||Himself (host)|
|1992-1997||Martin||Martin Payne and other various characters||132 episodes|
|1994||Saturday Night Live||Himself (host)||Episode: "Martin Lawrence/Crash Test Dummies"|
|2010–2011||Love That Girl!||Executive producer|
|2012||Untitled Martin Lawrence / CBS Sitcom||Ray Barker||Unsold pilot|
|2014||The Soul Man||Crazy Rudy||Episode: "All the Way Live"|
|2014||Partners||Marcus Jackson||10 episodes|
|1993||Martin Lawrence Live Talkin' Shit||76||10|
Awards and nominationsEdit
- Blockbuster Entertainment Award
- nominated with Eddie Murphy for Favorite Comedy Team (2000) for the movie Life
- nominated for Favorite Actor (2001) for the movie Big Momma's House
- NAACP Image Award
- won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (1995) for the series Martin
- won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (1996) for the series Martin
- nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (1997) for the series Martin
- Kids' Choice Award
- nominated for Favorite Television Actor (1995) for the series Martin
- nominated for Favorite Television Actor (1996) for the series Martin
- nominated for Favorite Movie Actor (2001) for the movie Big Momma's House
- MTV Movie Award
- nominated with Will Smith for Best On-Screen Duo (1996) for the movie Bad Boys
- nominated for the movie Big Momma's House
- nominated with Will Smith for Best On-Screen Team (2003) for the movie Bad Boys II
- ShoWest – Male Star of Tomorrow (1995)
- Teen Choice Award – nominated for Wipeout Scene of the Summer (2000) for the movie Big Momma's House
- BET Comedy Award – won Icon Comedy Award (2005)
- Stated in interview on Inside the Actors Studio
- "Martin Lawrence Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved March 26, 2007.
- "Martin Lawrence – Profile, Latest News and Related Articles". E! Online. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved March 26, 2007.
- "Chlora Lawrence-Crandell" Archived April 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. The Transylvania Times.
- Duffy, Mike (August 26, 1992). "Comic parlays stand-up act into sitcom". Knight-Ridder Newspapers. The Tampa Tribune. p. 4.
- Creamer, M. (1999). "Lawrence, Martin". Current Biography. 60 (10): 32–35.
- "Yahoo! Movies – Weekend Box Office and Buzz". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved March 26, 2007.
- "'Skank Robbers': Jamie Foxx, Martin Lawrence to reprise drag roles". Catch. October 11, 2010. Archived from the original on October 13, 2010.
- Heritage, Stuart (November 10, 2010). "Big Momma's House 3: once, twice, three times a fake lady". The Guardian.
- "Martin Lawrence & Kelsey Grammer In 'Partners': Critics Slam New Series". Hollywood Life. August 5, 2014. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
- "Everything We Know (So Far) About Bad Boys For Life". ScreenRant. June 14, 2019. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
- Wihlborg, Ulrica (July 10, 2010). "Martin Lawrence Ties the Knot". People. Retrieved July 10, 2010.
- "Martin Lawrence Files for Divorce". TMZ. April 30, 2012. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
- Laudidio, Marisa (April 24, 2012). "Martin Lawrence and Wife are Divorcing". People.
- The Reliable Source (August 7, 2009). "Hey, Isn't That...?". The Washington Post.
- "Geese Give Martin Lawrence a Goose". TMZ. July 31, 2008.
- David, Mark (June 15, 2012). "Martin Lawrence To Let Bev Hills Mansion". Variety.com. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
- David, Mark (June 20, 2013). "Martin Lawrence Downsizes in Encino". Variety.com. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
- Lang, Steven (May 12, 1997). "Disorderly Conduct". People. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
- "5 Famous Gun-Toting Celebs in the '90s". Entertainment Weekly. No. 540. Spring 2000. p. 90.
- "Tisha Campbell Files Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Martin Lawrence". Chicago, Illinois: Johnson Publishing Company. January 27, 1997. Retrieved March 15, 2018 – via Google Books. Cite magazine requires
- "Martin Lawternce Ends Sitcom, 'Martin', In Fifth Season". Jet. Chicago, Illinois: Johnson Publishing Company. April 28, 1997. Retrieved March 15, 2018 – via Google Books.
- Martin Lawrence on Conan, retrieved July 16, 2015
- Metcalfe, Coll (August 26, 1999). "Actor Martin Lawrence Comes Out of Coma". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
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