Martin Lawrence was born in Frankfurt, Germany where his mother served in the U.S. Military before relocating to Maryland with the family. Encouraged by his teachers to pursue his knack for comedy, he moved to New York City to try his hand at stand-up. Lawrence performed at the legendary Improv Comedy Club, which won him recognition and a spot on the hit show Star Search. Though he didn't win the competition, he was rewarded when Russell Simmons handpicked him to perform on HBO's Def Comedy Jam.He then launched a successful television career in his own sitcom, Martin, which aired from 1992-1997. Lawrence went on to take major roles in films such as Bad Boys, Bad Boys II, Blue Streak, and A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, which he also wrote and directed.