Martin Lawrence

Martin Lawrence Headshot

Comedian • Actor • Producer • Writer

Birth Name: Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence

Birth Date: April 16, 1965

Age: 59 years old

Birth Place: Frankfurt-am-Main, Hessen, Germany

Partners: Lark Voorhies

Born on April 16, 1965 in Frankfurt, Germany, Lawrence was raised by his parents. In 1973, his parents divorced, which forced his mother to work numerous odd jobs in order to support her six children. When he was a teenager, Lawrence was an amateur boxer and seriously considered going pro until he suffered an eye injury that prompted him to reconsider. After graduating, he began doing stand-up comedy on the Washington, D.C. circuit before moving briefly to New York City where he worked the crowds at Washington Square Park. He also worked at a Sears store in Queens, where he counted among his fellow employees, future stars Salt-N-Pepa and Kid 'N' Play.

After moving back to Maryland, he incorporated his Manhattan experiences into his act and toned down his raunchy language for a shot on the once-popular "Star Search" (syndicated, 1983-1995). Though Lawrence only won once on the competition, a tape of his performance found its way to Columbia Pictures, where he was cast in the recurring role of Maurice, a smart-mouthed busboy during the last season of the spin-off "What's Happening Now!!" (syndicated, 1985-88). Moving on to make his feature debut, Lawrence had an hysterical bit as a determined pizza joint patron in Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing" (1989) and also scored as the tone-deaf D.J. in the Hudlin brothers' sleeper hit, "House Party" (1990), which reunited him with old Sears coworkers Kid 'N' Play.

After appearing in the sequel "House Party 2" (1991), he had a co-starring role as Eddie Murphy's over race-sensitive sidekick in "Boomerang" (1992), followed by his first appearance on the stand-up comedy series, "One-Night Stand" ( HBO , 1988-1993). Having attracted the attention of HBO executives like Chris Albrecht, the pay cable network developed his very own sitcom, "Martin" (Fox, 1992-97), which received a boost from Lawrence's stand-up special and a two-season hosting gig of the new series, "Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam" (HBO, 1992-2008). But it was the popular Fox sitcom that brought Lawrence to prominence.

On the show, he played Martin Payne, a wise-cracking radio disc jockey who exudes a macho exterior on air, but displays his sensitive side while at home with his wife, Gina (Tisha Campbell-Martin). Lawrence also had a knack for playing a wide array of characters, many of which required prosthetics and which showed his particular penchant for performing in drag, including Sheneneh Jenkins, a flashy girl from the ghetto; Edna Payne, Martin's overprotective mother; Jerome, an aging pimp; and Bob, a white surfer-dude. "Martin" was embraced by audiences and became a significant hit.

Lawrence's insightful edginess often raised his sitcom work above the level of stereotype, enough so that the NAACP honored "Martin" with its Image Award, while the series allowed him huge improvisational freedom. Following in the footsteps of Richard Pryor and Murphy, he branched into comedy albums with Talkin' Shit (1993) and concert films with You So Crazy (1994). He raised his profile further by co-starring with Will Smith in Michael Bay's feature directorial debut, "Bad Boys" (1995). He co-wrote, starred in, served as music supervisor for and executive produced "A Thin Line Between Love and Hate" (1996). After taking a break from Hollywood,

Lawrence returned with two features, reuniting with Eddie Murphy to play a pair of convicts for "Life" (1999), and then playing a diamond thief pretending to be a cop in "Blue Streak" (1999). Following a health scare, he roared back to the forefront in the hit comedy "Big Momma's House" (2000), playing an FBI agent who dons a fat suit to impersonate a 300-pound woman in order to nab a violent bank robber (Terrence Howard). His follow-up project, "What's the Worst that Could Happen?" (2001) pitted him against Danny DeVito as a thief and billionaire, respectively, in a battle to see whose evilness would triumph.

In 2002, Lawrence took his comedy stint to the big screen, resulting in "Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat." The following year, Lawrence joined Steve Zahn for the comedy feature "National Security" (2003), before reuniting with Will Smith and director Michael Bay for the uninspired retread sequel "Bad Boys II" (2003). Lawrence lightened his image with the broad, heartwarming comedy "Rebound" (2005), playing a basketball coach looking for a second chance with a middle school team of misfits after being banned from the college level for his bad temper.

After voicing Boog, a 900-pound domesticated grizzly bear with no survival skills trying to survive the wild in "Open Season" (2006), Lawrence once again donned a fat suit for the inevitable sequel, "Big Momma's House 2" (2006). Lawrence went on to co-star in "Wild Hogs" (2007), a critically-panned, but hugely successful ensemble comedy about four down-and-out men (Lawrence, John Travolta ,Tim Allen and William H. Macy ) who go through respective mid-life crises by embarking on a freewheeling, cross-country motorcycle trip in order to prove their manhood. Despite bad reviews, "Wild Hogs" dominated the box office its opening weekend, eventually taking in over $250 million worldwide.

Meanwhile, he returned to his stand-up roots to executive produce " Martin Lawrence Presents: 1st Amendment Standup " (Starz, 2005-10), an uncensored showcase of the day's best under-the-radar comedians. Back on the big screen, he starred in "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins" (2008), and then teamed up with director Neil LaBute for the remake of the British black comedy, "Death at a Funeral" (2010). Since then, Lawrence has been in "Bad Boys for Life" (2020) and "Mindcage" (2022).

Credits

Bad Boys: Ride or Die

Actor
Marcus Burnett
Movie
2024
65%

Bad Boys: Ride or Die

Executive Producer
Movie
2024
65%

A Conversation With Martin Lawrence

Guest
Show
2023

Martin: The ReunionStream

Self
Special
2022

Mindcage

Actor
Jake Doyle
Movie
2022

Mindcage

Executive Producer
Movie
2022

Def Comedy Jam

Host
Show
2021

GMA3: What You Need to Know

Guest
Show
2020

Making of Bad Boys 3

Self
Show
2020

Bad Boys for LifeStream

Actor
Marcus
Movie
2020
76%

Sneaker Shopping

Actor
Show
2019

The Kelly Clarkson ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2019

Access Daily

Guest
Show
2019

The Beach BumStream

Actor
Captain Wack
Movie
2019
57%

Cultureshock: Chris Rock's Bring the Pain

Self
Show
2018

Def Comedy Jam 25

Guest
Show
2017

STEVE on Watch

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Talk
2017

Live with Kelly and Ryan

Guest
Talk
2017

Martin Lawrence: Doin' Time: Uncut

Executive Producer
Show
2016

Martin Lawrence: Doin' Time: Uncut

Screenwriter
Show
2016

Martin Lawrence: Doin' Time: Uncut

Self
Show
2016

PartnersStream

Actor
Marcus Jackson
Series
2014
25%

PartnersStream

Executive Producer
Series
2014
25%

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonStream

Guest
Talk
2014

The Queen Latifah Show

Guest
Talk
2013

Live! With Kelly and Michael

Guest
Talk
2012

The Soul ManStream

Guest Star
Rudy
Series
2012

Big Mommas: Like Father, Like SonStream

Actor
Malcolm Turner/Big Momma
Movie
2011
5%

Big Mommas: Like Father, Like SonStream

Executive Producer
Movie
2011
5%

ConanStream

Guest
Talk
2010

Access Hollywood Live

Guest
Show
2010

Death At A Funeral: Last Rites, Dark Secrets

Actor
Show
2010

Death at a FuneralStream

Actor
Ryan
Movie
2010
43%

Lopez Tonight

Guest
Show
2009

The Mo'Nique Show

Actor
Show
2009

ES.TV

Guest
Show
2009

The Project

Guest
Show
2009

Welcome Home Roscoe JenkinsStream

Actor
RJ
Movie
2008
23%

College Road TripStream

Actor
Chief James Porter
Movie
2008
12%

Martin Lawrence Presents 1st Amendment Standup

Executive Producer
Show
2007

Wild HogsStream

Actor
Bobby Davis
Movie
2007
14%

etalk

Guest
Show
2006

Open Season

Voice
Boog
Movie
2006

Big Momma's House 2Stream

Actor
Malcolm Turner
Movie
2006
5%

Big Momma's House 2Stream

Executive Producer
Movie
2006
5%

Boog & Elliot's Midnight Bun Run

Voice
Boog
Movie
2006

Before They Were Kings: Volume 2

Actor
Show
2005

The 1st Amendment Stand-Up

Executive Producer
Show
2005

Made in Hollywood

Guest
Series
2005

ReboundStream

Actor
Roy McCormick
Movie
2005
14%

ReboundStream

Executive Producer
Movie
2005
14%

TV One on One With Cathy Hughes

Guest
Show
2004

The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Guest
Talk
2003

Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

Guest
Talk
2003

National SecurityStream

Actor
Earl Montgomery
Movie
2003
11%

National SecurityStream

Executive Producer
Movie
2003
11%

Bad Boys IIStream

Actor
Marcus Burnett
Movie
2003
23%

Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat

Executive Producer
Movie
2002

Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat

Self
Movie
2002

Live With Regis and Kelly

Guest
Show
2001

What's the Worst That Could Happen?Stream

Actor
Kevin Caffery
Movie
2001
10%

What's the Worst That Could Happen?Stream

Executive Producer
Movie
2001
10%

Black KnightStream

Actor
Jamal Walker
Movie
2001
15%

Black KnightStream

Executive Producer
Movie
2001
15%

Entertainment Studios.com

Guest
Show
2000

Big Momma's HouseStream

Actor
Malcolm
Movie
2000
30%

Big Momma's HouseStream

Executive Producer
Movie
2000
30%

The Daily Show With Jon StewartStream

Guest
Talk
1999

LifeStream

Actor
Claude Banks
Movie
1999
52%

Blue StreakStream

Actor
Miles Logan
Movie
1999
36%

Kickin' It: With Byron Allen

Guest
Show
1998

Nothing to LoseStream

Actor
Terrance Paul Davidson
Movie
1997
31%

Access Hollywood

Guest
News
1996

The Chris Rock ShowStream

Guest
Talk
1996

Russell Simmons' Def Comedy All-Star Jam

Actor
Show
1996

A Thin Line Between Love and HateStream

Actor
Narrator; Darnell "Deeny" Wright
Movie
1996
15%

A Thin Line Between Love and HateStream

Director
Movie
1996
15%

A Thin Line Between Love and HateStream

Screenwriter
Movie
1996
15%

Bad BoysStream

Actor
Detective Marcus Burnett
Movie
1995
43%

Entertainers: With Byron Allen

Guest
Show
1994

Extra

Guest
News
1994

Martin Lawrence: You So CrazyStream

Actor
Stand-up
1994
45%

You So Crazy

Actor
Movie
1994

You So Crazy

Executive Producer
Movie
1994

You So Crazy

Screenwriter
Movie
1994

Late Show With David Letterman

Guest
Talk
1993

MartinStream

Actor
Martin Payne
Series
1992

MartinStream

Executive Producer
Series
1992

Russell Simmons' Def Comedy JamStream

Host
Series
1992

BoomerangStream

Actor
Tyler
Movie
1992
48%

House Party 2

Actor
Bilal
Movie
1991

Talkin' Dirty After Dark

Actor
Terry
Movie
1991

Risas en la Noche

Actor
Movie
1991

House PartyStream

Actor
Bilal
Movie
1990
94%

One-Night Stand

Actor
Show
1989

The Oprah Winfrey ShowStream

Guest
Talk
1986

Entertainment Tonight

Guest
News
1981

Good Morning America

Guest
News
1975

Saturday Night LiveStream

Host
Series
1975

Today

Guest
News
1952

News aboutMartin Lawrence