Martin Lawrence - biography
Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence (born April 16, 1965) is an actor, film director, film producer, screenwriter, and stand up comedian. He came to fame during the 1990s, establishing a Hollywood career as a leading actor, most notably the films Bad Boys, Blue Streak, and Big Momma's House. Lawrence has acted in numerous film roles and starred in his own television series, Martin, which ran from 1992 to 1997.
Lawrence, second of six children, was born in Frankfurt am Main, Hesse in Germany on April 16, 1965, to American parents. He was given his first name after civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and his middle name after US President John F. Kennedy. His father, John Lawrence, served in the US Military. After his parents divorced when he was eight, Lawrence rarely saw his father, who worked as a police officer at the time. His mother, Chlora (née Bailey), began working several jobs to support her family. During his teen years, Lawrence excelled at boxing. He lived in Maryland, and attended Thomas G. Pullen School of Creative and Performing Arts (Landover, Maryland), Fairmont Heights High School (Fairmount Heights, Maryland), Eleanor Roosevelt High School, and also Friendly High School in Fort Washington, Maryland, becoming a Mid-Atlantic Golden Gloves boxing contender.
Lawrence moved to Denver and found his way to the legendary Kings Wood comedy club. Shortly after appearing at the Wood, he won a performance spot on Star Search, a popular show in the United States. He did well on the show and made it to the final round before ultimately losing. However, executives at Columbia TriStar Television saw Martin's performance and offered him the role of "Maurice" on the television sitcom What's Happening Now!!; this was his first acting job. Upon cancellation of that show, Lawrence found bit parts in various films and television roles. His breakthrough role was as Cee in the Spike Lee film Do the Right Thing. Other roles followed in films such as the House Party series 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, 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 TV. 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.
After Martin ended its run, Lawrence found ample work in comedy films. He often starred as the second lead opposite actors including Eddie Murphy, Will Smith, and Tim Robbins. Many of his films were blockbusters at the box office, including Boomerang (1992), (also with him again in Life) Bad Boys (1995), Blue Streak (1999), Big Momma's House (2000) and Bad Boys 2 (2003). He also starred in critical and box office failures including Black Knight (2001) and National Security (2002). 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 #1 at the North American box office and grossed almost $28 million its first weekend, and Wild Hogs (2007), in which he plays 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'd portrayed on Martin.
In 2008, Lawrence starred in Disney's College Road Trip co-starring with Raven Symone. This particular film was his first G-rated film. Even though it was his first film to be G-rated, it is not his first time appearing in a children's film. as well as a voiceover role in 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.
Personal life Relationships and family
Lawrence was engaged to actress Lark Voorhies in 1993. He married Patricia Southall, a former Miss Virginia USA, in 1995. Lawrence and Southall have one child together, daughter Jasmine Page (born January 15, 1996). They divorced in 1997. Throughout the 2000s, Lawrence was in 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; Shanice serenaded the couple by singing the Minnie Riperton classic "Lovin' You". 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 is the cousin of entertainer Christopher "Play" Martin.
Legal and health problems
On May 8, 1996, he became increasingly erratic and was arrested after he reportedly brandished a pistol and screamed at tourists on Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles and was then hospitalized, with his PR stating "exhaustion and dehydration". On August 19, 1996, he was arrested at Burbank Airport for carrying a loaded gun in his suitcase. In March 1997, Lawrence was arrested again after punching a man in a Hollywood nightclub.
In 1997, Lawrence's Martin co-star, Tisha Campbell-Martin, filed a lawsuit against Lawrence and the show's producers for sexual harassment and verbal and physical assaults. HBO Studios settled the lawsuit so the show's final season could be completed. Campbell-Martin agreed to complete the season on the condition that she not appear in any scenes in the last two episodes with Lawrence. No criminal charges were ever filed and the accusations were never brought to court.
During August 1999, Lawrence slipped into a three-day coma after collapsing from heat exhaustion while jogging in 100-degree heat while wearing several layers of heavy clothing. He recovered in the hospital after nearly dying from a body temperature of 107 °F (41.7 °C), his breathing assisted by a respirator.
- What's Happening Now!! (cast member from 1987–1988) – Maurice
- A Little Bit Strange (1989) (unsold pilot)
- Kid 'n Play - Wiz, Hurbie
- Hammer, Slammer, & Slade (1990) (unsold pilot)
- Private Times (1991) (unsold pilot)
- Martin (1992–1997) – Martin Payne
- Def Comedy Jam (host from 1992–1993)
- Love That Girl! (executive producer)