Whether co-starring alongside such heavy hitters as Eddie Murphy and Will Smith or just going it alone, Martin Lawrence has made a career by making us laugh. On April 16, 1965, Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence was born in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, the son of a military father. The family moved to Washington DC when Martin was seven and soon after, his parents split up. After graduating from high school, Martin, who once aspired to be a boxer, moved out to Los Angeles and began a career as a stand-up comedian. Casting directors for the talent show Star Search found Martin at an LA comedy club and persuaded him to compete on the show. He made it all the way to the show's final round, before losing, but the exposure Star Search gave him landed him a recurring role in the sitcom What's Happening Now! in 1987. The actor made the leap to the big screen with an appearance in Spike Lee's 1989 incendiary film Do the Right Thing and followed that film up with the comedy House Party co-starring with rappers Kid 'n' Play. In 1992, Russell Simmons tapped Martin to host the HBO stand-up series Def Comedy Jam and that same year, his FOX sitcom Martin debuted. Both shows were successful, with Martin giving the actor the chance to create such memorable characters as sassy 'Shenehneh Jenkins' and 'Otis' the security guard. Martin ran for five seasons and picked up a People's Choice Award in 1993 for Best New Series. During the sitcom's run, Martin co-starred with Will Smith in Bad Boys and filmed his raunchy stand-up act for the performance film You So Crazy in 1994. Once the series wrapped, the actor went on work on Life with Eddie Murphy and played an ex-con pretending to be a policeman (with 'partner' Luke Wilson) looking to retrieve a diamond he stole years earlier in Blue Streak. One of Martin's most successful films had him in drag and a fat suit, playing an undercover cop in 2000's Big Momma's House (and later its 2006 sequel) he also met with success reprising his role as 'Detective Marcus Burnett' in 2003's Bad Boys II. Recent box-office winners for the actor include Wild Hogs with John Travolta and College Road Trip with Raven-Symone. With his wide array of comic characters, talent and timing, Martin is one 'bad boy' audiences still love to see on the big screen.
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