Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
He was born in Frankfurt. His father was in the U.S. military. When Lawrence was six, his family moved to the New York City borough of Queens. His family then moved to Landover, Maryland. When his father left the family, Lawrence claims he began performing comedy to cheer-up his mother, Chlora, who was forced to cashier at various department stores to support Martin and his five siblings. He attended Eleanor Roosevelt High School while living there.
Seven years later, Lawrence got a chance to perform on Star Search. That appearance led to a role in the 1985 television series What's Happening Now! . Lawrence made his movie debut in Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing and played minor roles in House Party and House Party 2. He had a more prominent role in Eddie Murphy's Boomerang , and emceed Def Comedy Jam .
In 1991, Lawrence worked in his first starring role in Talking Dirty After Dark . By 1992, he had his own sitcom, Martin on Fox. Martin ran to 1997, and remains in syndication. The show won a NAACP Image Award for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.
In 1994, Lawrence released the controversial concert film, You So Crazy! . The film received the NC-17 rating and was later released unrated. Its crudeness, however, did not prevent You So Crazy! from becoming one of the highest-grossing concert films of all time.
He married Patricia Southall, a former Miss Virginia, on January 7, 1995. They had a daughter and divorced in 1996. Southall is now married to Emmitt Smith. The divorce led to many personal problems in Lawrence's life. In August 1996, he was arrested at Burbank Airport for carrying a loaded gun in his suitcase. On March 28, 1997, he was arrested outside a Hollywood nightclub after a man claimed Lawrence punched him; he was ordered to perform community service. While directing A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996), which he wrote, produced, and starred in, he reportedly had violent outbursts and took drugs on the set. Martin! co-star Tisha Campbell sued him for sexual harassment, and left the show during its last season. He went into a coma after collapsing from heat exhaustion while jogging in August 1999.
Despite his personal problems, Lawrence appeared in many popular movies such as Bad Boys with Will Smith, Nothing to Lose with Tim Robbins, Life with Eddie Murphy, Blue Streak, and Big Momma's House. The success of these movies made Lawrence quite wealthy.
After the success of Big Momma's House, he was paid $13 million for What's the Worst Thing That Could Happen? with Danny DeVito. He then earned $16.5 million for Black Knight (2001). His next film was Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat in which he performed his standup comedy act.
His filmography includes:
- What's Happening Now!! (1985)
- A Little Bit Strange (1989)
- Do the Right Thing (1989)
- House Party (1990)
- Hammer, Slammer, & Slade (1990)
- House Party 2 (1991)
- Talkin Dirty After Dark (1991)
- Boomerang (1992)
- Martin (1992-1997)
- You So Crazy! (1994)
- Bad Boys (1995)
- A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996)
- Nothing to Lose (1997)
- Life (1999)
- Blue Streak (1999)
- Big Momma's House (2000)
- What's the Worst That Could Happen? (2001)
- Black Knight (2001)
- Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat (2002)
- National Security (2003)
- Bad Boys II (2003)
- Rage Control (2004) (pre production)
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