- Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence
April 16, 1965 (age 55)
- Comedian, Screenwriter, Actor, Film Director, Film Producer, Musician, TV Program Creator, Televisio
- Patricia Southall
- John Lawrence, Chlora Lawrence
Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence (born April 16, 1965) is an American 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 starred in numerous film roles and his very own highly-rated television series, which ran from 1992 to 1997. His television series and starring role in question were both named after him with "Martin" Payne in Martin.
Lawrence, second of six children, was born in Frankfurt am Main, 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 U.S. President John F. Kennedy. His father, John Lawrence, served in the U.S. 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 Lawrence (née Bailey, July 24, 1930 – August 28, 2008), 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 and seriously considered going pro until he suffered an eye injury that prompted him to reconsider.
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. 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.
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 Jasmin Page (born January 15, 1996). They divorced in 1997. Throughout late 1997, 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 owns a farm near Purcellville, Virginia. For many years, he owned a large mansion in the exclusive Beverly Park community, but sold it in June 2012 following his divorce.