The Real Reason You Don’t Hear From Martin Lawrence Anymore

For much of the 1990s, actor and comedian
Martin Lawrence was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, with a popular long-running
TV show, a hit stand-up album, and a string of box office hits. But Lawrence’s ascent started to stall toward
the end of the decade, and his star power has been fading ever since. So where did he disappear to? Here’s a look at what Martin Lawrence has
been up to over the years. Early fame Martin Lawrence began his entertainment career
as a stand-up comedian, but it wasn’t long before his act caught television producers’
attention, and he made his TV debut on the series What’s Happening Now!. In 1992, Lawrence was chosen to be the first
host of HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, and from there he found himself on the fast-track to fame. Not only did he land a role in the Eddie Murphy
comedy Boomerang, he also put his talents front and center with his very own Fox sitcom,
the aptly titled Martin. The show proved a major hit with audiences
and made its star a household name. That was enough to land him a role opposite
Will Smith in Bad Boys in 1995, and the rest, as they say, is history. Meltdown On the heels of major box office success,
Lawrence kept himself busy—maybe a little too busy. With his first post-Bad Boys role, the actor
set out to reaffirm his leading man status while proving he could write and direct, too. But the pressure of carrying a film almost
entirely on his own may have proved too much: weeks into filming the dark romantic comedy
A Thin Line Between Love And Hate, the actor had a meltdown on the set and was hospitalized
for exhaustion. Rather than take some time off, Lawrence continued
to book new work. In 1996, he suffered another episode, this
time stalking the streets of L.A. with a pistol while shouting at passing cars. His second bout with exhaustion led to another
hospital stay. This time, Lawrence got the message and stepped
away from the spotlight to heal. Personal drama While his professional fortunes skyrocketed,
Lawrence’s private life grew turbulent. The comedian spent much of the ’90s struggling
with personal issues that threatened to derail his career. He became engaged to Saved By The Bell actress
Lark Voorhies in 1993, but the relationship fell apart before year’s end. He rebounded by marrying former Miss Virginia
Patricia Southall in 1995, and the pair had two children together before divorcing in
1997. Big screen return Lawrence eased his way back into Hollywood’s
good graces in 1999 with a couple of successful comedies in Life and Blue Streak—but he
also found his way back into the tabloids while prepping for his next film, Big Momma’s
House. Lawrence collapsed while jogging in 100-degree
heat and ended up in a three-day coma. “And I just picked the hottest day of the
summer next thing I know I was asleep.” The production was delayed while he recovered,
but the time off didn’t hurt: when the film finally arrived in theaters in 2000, it raked
in close to $180 million worldwide. Just like that, Martin Lawrence was back on
top. Box office flops Unfortunately, Lawrence followed his Big Momma
success with a string of genuine misfires. What’s The Worst That Could Happen?, Black
Knight, and National Security all underperformed, and in spite of solid box office returns for
Bad Boys II and a Big Momma’s House sequel, he hasn’t managed to right the ship for good. With his movies continuing to miss the mark,
Lawrence tried to return to the medium he once dominated: television. Unfortunately, TV has proven a struggle as
well, as Lawrence has seen networks pass on his pilots. And the one series that did get picked up— Partners— lasted
just 10 episodes before getting the axe. Bad Boys bust No role seemed better suited to get Lawrence
back on track than a return to his big-screen breakout as Marcus from Bad Boys. “Now back up, put the gun down, and gimmie
a pack of Tropical Fruit Bubbalicious.” “And some Skittles.” After an extended period in development limbo,
Bad Boys III—a.k.a. Bad Boys For Life—got some good news when writer/director Joe Carnahan
came aboard. “It’s real, they workin’ on the script and
it it all looks good.” But just as things got cooking, the pieces
holding the sequel together fell apart. Carnahan left the project, and the studio
eventually pulled the film from its release slate. Like that, Lawrence’s big-screen comeback
was over before it even began. Semi-comeback Lawrence decided to take his talents back
to the stand-up stage in 2016. Martin Lawrence: Doin’ Time premiered on Showtime
and marked his first stand-up film in almost 15 years. Sadly, the Showtime special didn’t put Lawrence
back in the spotlight. Doin’ Time arrived with little fanfare, and
was met with critical indifference—but as with any other creative venture, there’s also
the possibility that he just needs to get warmed up again. It’s always possible that we’ll be seeing
a lot more of Martin Lawrence in the future. “Thank you very much.” “Break it down!” Thanks for watching! Click the Looper icon to subscribe to our
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