Martin Lawrence

Martin Lawrence
Lawrence at a ceremony for Jerry Bruckheimer to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on June 24, 2013
Birth nameMartin Fitzgerald Lawrence
Born (1965-04-16) April 16, 1965 (age 53)
Frankfurt, Hesse, West Germany
Years active1987–present
Notable works and roles

Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence[1] (born April 16, 1965) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, producer, talk show host, and writer. Lawrence came to fame during the 1990s, establishing a Hollywood career as a leading actor, most notably in the Fox television sitcom Martin and the films House Party, Boomerang, Bad Boys, Wild Hogs, Nothing to Lose, Blue Streak, Life, Big Momma's House, and A Thin Line Between Love & Hate.

Early life[]

The fourth of six children, Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence was born on April 16, 1965, in Frankfurt, West Germany, to African American parents who were serving in the U.S. military in West Germany at the time of Martin's birth.[1] Lawrence was named after civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr..[1] His parents divorced when he was eight years old and Lawrence rarely saw his estranged father, who worked as a police officer.[2][3] His mother, Chlora (née Bailey), began working several jobs to support her family.[4][5]

During his teen years, Lawrence excelled at boxing.[1] Lawrence lived in Queens, New York, and Landover, Maryland.[6]


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.[1] 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.[1] 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.[1] 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 ed 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.

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.[1] 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,[7] 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.

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.[8]

In 2011, Lawrence reprised his role as FBI agent Malcolm Turner in Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, the third film in the Big Momma series.[9]

In January 2013, it was announced that Lawrence and Kelsey Grammer are considering pairing up to star in a comedy for Lionsgate TV. The series will likely follow the same production model as Charlie Sheen's Anger Management, which is also produced by Lionsgate TV. That show was recently given a hardy back-90 pickup following its initial 10-episode order.[10] In March 2013, it was announced that television producers/writers Robert L. Boyett and Robert Horn are on board, writing and executive producing. They have worked on the popular hit sitcoms Family Matters, Perfect Strangers, Full House, and Designing Women.[11] Partners, pairs the two actors as Chicago lawyers from "vastly different backgrounds who unexpectedly meet in court on the worst day of their lives," according to a network description. David A. Arnold has been tapped to write. Arnold has written for television shows including: Raising Whitley, Meet the Browns, The Rickey Smiley Show and more.[12] Edi Patterson has been cast as a regular and will play Verushka, a busty, sexy Russian woman who co-owns the massage shop next door.[13] Danièle Watts will play the daughter of Lawrence's character.[14] The show premiered August 4, 2014 and lasted one season.

In August 2014, Martin Lawrence confirmed, on Conan, that Bad Boys for Life was almost done being written.[15]

Personal life[]

Relationships and family[]

Lawrence was engaged to actress Lark Voorhies in 1993. He married Miss Virginia USA, Patricia Southall in 1995. Lawrence and Southall have one child together, daughter Jasmine Page (born January 15, 1996). They divorced in 1997.[citation needed] 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;[16] R&B singer Shanice serenaded the couple with the Minnie Riperton classic "Lovin' You."[17] Lawrence and Gibbs have two daughters: Iyanna Faith (born November 9, 2000) and Amara Trinity (born August 20, 2002).[18] Lawrence filed for divorce from Gibbs on April 25, 2012, citing irreconcilable differences and asking for joint legal and physical custody of the children.[19]

Lawrence owns a farm near Purcellville, Virginia.[20][21] For many years, he owned a large mansion in the exclusive Beverly Park community, but sold it in June 2012 following his divorce.[22]

Legal issues and health problems[]

In July 1995, while on the set filming A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, Lawrence lashed out in a violent rage and was then hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.[23]

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.[1]

In March 1997, Lawrence was arrested after punching a man in a Hollywood nightclub.[1]

During August 1999, Lawrence slipped into a three-day coma after collapsing from heat exhaustion while jogging in 100-degree Fahrenheit (38 °C) heat in preparation for Big Momma's House while wearing heavy clothing and a "plastic suit."[1][24] He recovered in the hospital after nearly dying due to a body temperature of 107 °F (41.7 °C), his breathing assisted by a ventilator.[25]



Year Title Role Notes
1989 Do the Right Thing Cee
1990 House Party Bilal
1991 Talkin' Dirty After Dark Terry Wilson
1991 House Party 2 Bilal
1992 Boomerang Tyler Hawkins
1994 You So Crazy Himself Stand-up film
Executive producer and writer
1995 Bad Boys Det. 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
1999 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
2001 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
2003 Bad Boys II Detective Marcus Burnett Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo (shared with Will Smith)
2005 Rebound Coach Roy McCormick/
Preachor Don
Also executive producer
2006 Big Momma's House 2 Malcolm Turner/Big Momma Also executive producer
2006 Open Season Boog Voice only
2007 Wild Hogs Bobby Davis
2008 Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins Dr. RJ Stevens/Roscoe Jenkins, Jr.
2008 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
Also writer
2019 The Beach Bum Captain Wack Post-production
2020 Bad Boys for Life Detective Marcus Burnett Pre-production


Years Album Chart positions
US US Hip-Hop
1993 Martin Lawrence Live Talkin' Shit 76 10
1995 Funk It 35

Awards and nominations[]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Stated in interview on Inside the Actors Studio
  2. ^ "Martin Lawrence Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved March 26, 2007.
  3. ^ "Martin Lawrence Biography (1968–2015)". Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  4. ^ "Martin Lawrence – Profile, Latest News and Related Articles". E! Online. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved March 26, 2007.
  5. ^ "Chlora Lawrence-Crandell" Archived April 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.. The Transylvania Times.
  6. ^ Duffy, Mike (August 26, 1992). "Comic parlays stand-up act into sitcom". Knight-Ridder Newspapers. The Tampa Tribune. p. 4.
  7. ^ "Yahoo! Movies – Weekend Box Office and Buzz". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved March 26, 2007.
  8. ^ "'Skank Robbers': Jamie Foxx, Martin Lawrence to reprise drag roles". Catch. October 11, 2010. Archived from the original on October 13, 2010.
  9. ^ Heritage, Stuart (November 10, 2010). "Big Momma's House 3: once, twice, three times a fake lady". The Guardian.
  10. ^ "Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence Teaming Up?".
  11. ^ "Comedy Vets To Run Kelsey Grammar-Martin Lawrence Series (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. March 29, 2013.
  12. ^ "Comedian David Arnold Signs on As Writer For New Kelsey Grammer/Martin Lawrence Show on FX!". The Humor Mill. August 26, 2013.
  13. ^ "Edi Patterson Cast In FX's Kelsey Grammer-Martin Lawrence Series, Tongayi Chirisa Re-Joins CBS' Jim Gaffigan Pilot". Deadline. November 19, 2013.
  14. ^ "Daniele Watts Will Play Martin Lawrence's Daughter In New FX Comedy Series 'Braddock & Jackson'". Shadow & Act. December 13, 2013.
  15. ^ ‘Bad Boys 3′: Martin Lawrence Confirms Sequel is in Development Variety, August 2014
  16. ^ Wihlborg, Ulrica (July 10, 2010). "Martin Lawrence Ties the Knot". People. Retrieved July 10, 2010.
  17. ^ "Comedian Martin Lawrence Marries Longtime Girlfriend". Archived from the original on July 21, 2010.
  18. ^ "Martin Lawrence Files for Divorce". TMZ. April 30, 2012. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
  19. ^ Marisa Laudidio (April 24, 2012). "Martin Lawrence and Wife are Divorcing". People.
  20. ^ The Reliable Source (August 7, 2009). "Hey, Isn't That...?". The Washington Post.
  21. ^ "Geese Give Martin Lawrence a Goose". TMZ. July 31, 2008.
  22. ^ Bruce Makowsky, Budding Real Estate Baller
  23. ^ Lang, Steven (May 12, 1997). "Disorderly Conduct". People. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
  24. ^ Martin Lawrence on Conan, retrieved 2015-07-16
  25. ^ Metcalfe, Coll (August 26, 1999). "Actor Martin Lawrence Comes Out of Coma". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 3, 2015.

External links[]