Mark Christopher Lawrence is one of Hollywood's most prominent power players. This diverse actor not only displays a variety of theatrical skills, but also excels as a producer, a vocalist, a comedian as well as a literary scholar. With his memorable charm and hilarious wit, Lawrence has met and continues to meet the demands, and overcome the challenges in the world of entertainment. Best known for his role, Mix Master Tone Def, in the cult classic "Fear of A Black Hat", Lawrence's creative talents as a character actor besieged audiences in this comical spoof of "This is Spinal Tap" about a Gangsta Rap group called N.W.H. He can also be seen on UPN's half-hour comedy "The Mullets" alongside Loni Anderson and "Seinfeld's, John O'Hurley.
As a native of Compton, California, Lawrence and his two siblings were raised in a neighborhood absorbed in non-stop crime and corruption. However, his single mother grounded him with a strong sense of values and self worth. Consequently, at a young age Lawrence adverted violent street life and found other ways to entertain himself. With the raw talent to imitate and mimic neighborhood comrades, Lawrence's uncanny talent to adopt mannerisms and develop characters kept him on the right path and out of crime. "I lived in an area that within two blocks in any direction, there was major gang activity. It could have really been easy for me to go in that direction but it was my mother's upbringing and some guidance from my tenth grade English teacher that kept me on the straight and narrow." Aware of his intelligence and oral skills, Lawrence's teacher, Mrs. Shilling, enrolled him in his high school's debate team. Soon, Mark found himself doing oral interpretation, both humorous and dramatic readings of prose. After winning the school district's Literary Olympiad Award, Lawrence began competing on state and national levels, eventually winning The Bovero-Tabor Award, an accolade reserved for the top speaker in the country. Upon gaining attention from USC's debate team, he was awarded a full scholarship to attend the university. While attending college, Mark traveled the nation performing poetry and prose. He also honed his craft working professionally with the Los Angeles Theater Center. His recognizable skills warranted him an agent, and Mark quickly landed his first job on several episodes of "Hill Street Blues." After graduation, he steadily worked with the San Francisco Mime Troupe and performed standup throughout Los Angeles, Australia, Canada and Guam. Opening for major acts like Jerry Seinfeld and Rodney Dangerfield, Lawrence has performed in a dozen plays and won a Dramalogue Award for his performance in Reza Abdoh's, Minimanta. After his role in The Glass House (Ken Davis), Lawrence won a NAACP award and gained the attention of film director, James Cameron. He landed a role as the insane asylum attendant in the action-thriller, Terminator II. Taken aback by his comedic abilities, Cameron extended Lawrence's two days of work into six weeks of production. This was the beginning of Mark's flourishing career.
"Mix Master Tone Def" in Fear of a Black Hat was the role that landed Lawrence instant fame and credibility as a Hollywood notable. This cult classic mocks today's hip-hop culture and with hip-hop's outstanding commercial success, this film's fan culture has expanded worldwide. Thus, making Lawrence a distinctive cult icon. Since, this constant entertainer has played a variety of comedic and dramatic characters in films: Crimson Tide, K-Pax, Tales From the Hood, Planet of the Apes, That Darn Cat and Two Can Play That Game. His small screen credits include: Seinfeld, Coach, 3rd Rock From the Sun, Touched by an Angel, Malcolm in the Middle and Dharma and Greg. He is a series regular on The George Wendt Show and The Mullets where is plays "Bill" the next-door neighbor. Lawrence also starred in Shake, Rattle and Roll, playing an incredible portrayal of "Fats Domino". In the future, we can see Mark as "Christopher Mello" in the film Garfield, based on the famous comic strip. He will also star in the HBO original film, Lost Treasure, opposite Stephen Baldwin and Michael Whaley's, The Croquet Game, which stars Kellita Smith (The Bernie Mac Show), Gina Torres (The Matrix: Reloaded) and Christopher B. Duncan (The Jaime Foxx Show).
As an entrepreneur, Lawrence along with partners Barry Shabaka Henley and Tarabu Betserai Kirkland formed the Black Theater Artist's workshop. Though it was originally alliances with The Los Angles Theater Center, the workshop became its own entity after the closing of the center. Today, all three partners work together creating various theater and film projects. They are currently shopping several completed scripts for film and television. Mark C. Lawrence, a well-rounded businessman, has also launched his clothing line, Prayer Dudz, a casual and dressy line of men's apparel. Lawrence, aware of his blessings, participates and gives to many different charities. He has sincere concern and involvement with several organizations that assist kids, diabetics and breast cancer patients. Personally, Lawrence has an avid interest in golf, baseball, football and billiards. He is also a gourmet chef with international culinary skills.
Though he is known for his clever characters, Mark's true talent is his genuine ability to make others laugh. He brings awareness to social, political and economical situations though comedy. His humorous, yet frank view on life, keeps Lawrence's motivation and creative energy in abundance. Lawrence, the actor, is highly memorable and Lawrence, the man is highly enlightening. And, this combination makes Mark Christopher Lawrence, a truly respected and gifted individual, a standout in Hollywood.