What the Hell Happened to Martin Lawrence?
In the mid-90’s, Martin Lawrence had a hit TV show and a burgeoning movie career. He went on to establish himself as a Hollywood A-lister in big screen action movies and comedies. But by the end of the decade, Lawrence was surrounded by scandal. Since then, his movie career has slowed down considerably. His last box office hit was in 2007.
What the hell happened?
Lawrence began boxing after high school. He was a Golden Gloves contender until he suffered an eye injury that made him reconsider his career. Lawrence moved from Maryland to Colorado where he started performing at the Kings Wood comedy club. Not long after, Lawrence appeared on the televised talent competition, Star Search aka American Idoll for the 80’s.. Here he is facing against the show’s then-champion, Jason Stuart.
You have to feel for the guy. He had no idea he was competing against a future giant of comedy. Lawrence was very successful on Star Search. He went on to the show’s final round, but he did not win. However, his performance caught the eye of executives at Columbia TriStar Television. This lead to Lawrence being cast on the sitcom, What’s Happening Now!!
What’s Happening Now!! was a follow-up to the 1970’s sitcom, What’s Happening!!
The original show was only moderately successful on ABC. But it did very well in reruns which is a bit ironic given that the most popular character on the show was actually named Rerun. This lead to the show being revived in 1985 as What’s Happening Now!!
Lawrence joined the cast in the show’s third and final season from 1987-1988. He played a teenager who worked as a busboy at the restaurant owned by the show’s main characters. Lawrence was actually 22 at the time.
Lawrence made his big screen debut with a small role in Spike Lee’s comedy/drama, Do the Right Thing.
Do the Right Thing told the story of a neighborhood in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn that erupts in racial tensions. Lee wrote, directed and co-starred opposite Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, John Turturro, Samuel L. Jackson and Rosie Pérez who was also making her film debut. Lawrence is basically a background character in the neighborhood as seen in this NSF clip:
The ending to Do the Right Thing sparked controversy. The message of the movie is intentionally mixed. But many feared that the movie would incite violence. In spite of the controversy, reviews were very positive and it was a hit at the box office.
Posted on November 23, 2013, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actor and tagged bad boys, big momma's house, eddie murphy, house party, martin, Martin Lawrence, tisha campbell, wild hogs. Bookmark the permalink. 117 Comments.