Martin Lawrence was encouraged to pursue a comedy career as a teenager by a school teacher who let him tell jokes during the last few minutes of every class.

Several years later, an appearance on Star Search led to his first regular television role as the smart-mouthed busboy on What’s Happening Now! Later, Lawrence had his own cable show, One Night Stand, which paved the way for a two-year run as host of Def   Comedy Jam.

Lawrence made his movie debut in Do the Right Thing and followed that up with roles in House Party and Boomerang.  Lawrence’s resume also includes writing, directing and executive producing the film, A Thin Line Between Love and Hate.

A military “brat,” Lawrence was born in the former West Germany, but he grew up in Landover, Md. He is divorced and has one daughter.