He’s a familiar face, a stand out performer, and veteran of the performing arts – small screen, big screen and stage. He’s Mark Christopher Lawrence, actor and comedian leaving his mark on Hollywood for the past 25 years.
Lawrence, a native of Compton, Calif., used his speech and debate skills to earn a scholarship to attend The University of Southern California where he studied Theatre. While at USC, Lawrence collected acting and trade insight that would follow him throughout his career, perhaps without realizing how expansive his career would become.
“The most important thing that I learned at SC is to go with it,” Lawrence said in an interview. “So I try to live life with ‘go with it’, no matter what’s going on, I just go with it.”
And “go with it” he did. Catching the eye of a talent agent after moonlighting at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, Lawrence scored his first television role on the police drama Hill Street Blues. Lawrence’s movie career has encompassed a variety of genres from blockbusters to cult favorites, with performances in films like Terminator 2 and Crimson Tide, to his starring role in the cult classic Fear of a Black Hat.
Lawrence has been regularly seen as a guest star on many popular television shows such as Seinfeld, Murphy Brown, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Dharma & Greg, Reba and My Name is Earl.
However, Lawrence became a household fixture with his role as Big Mike in the popular NBC comedy-action-drama Chuck. Lawrence gained a following for portraying the hilarious and sometimes outrageous manager of Buy More, the fictional electronics store where Chuck took place. Chuck aired for 5 seasons beginning in 2007 with Lawrence as a recurring actor on the show and a key factor in keeping the show renewed after its second season.
Incidentally, Big Mike’s love for Subway sandwiches, and Lawrence’s convincing portrayal of that love, convinced Subway sandwiches to jump on board as a sponsor for the show, which kept it renewed for a third season.
As Chuck’s final season was coming to a close, Lawrence expressed his love affection for everyone involved in the show saying he’d “Miss the people, the cast, the crew, and the fans that I interact with daily. We’re a large cast and I love each and every one of them. It’s refreshing to be involved with a group of people that’s as talented as this group and you get along with.”
Chuck’s wide audience has given Lawrence a broad scope in the comedy world. He has spent the last few years touring and headlining comedy shows around the country. Most notably in 2012, Lawrence successfully hosted a monthly Comedy Night at San Diego’s House of Blues bringing in up-and-coming musical performers as well as seasoned comedians to bring laughter to his fans. Ventriloquist Kevin Johnson wowed the crowds in October; while Paul Stoeklein headlined the show in August. Every show brought fans from San Diego’s own “Nerd HQ” avid supporters of Lawrence because, “(he) is always a class act.”
Lawrence certainly lives up to that description with his philanthropic work. A cause near to Lawrence’s heart is Act Today, an organization that seeks to raise awareness and provide treatment services to families coping with autism. Lawrence has also volunteered his time and resources towards Operation Smile; Reading, Writing Its Exciting! and The Riley Foundation.
Using his fame and popularity for good, Lawrence is certainly a shining example in Hollywood and beyond.
And Mark Christopher Lawrence’s career shows no signs of stalling any time soon. He recently hosted the 2012 NATAS Emmy awards, and it has been announced that he has been nominated for two Craig Noel Awards for “Outstanding Male Lead” for stage performances in Top Dog/Underdog and A Raisin in the Sun. Lawrence will also be making a recurring guest appearance on the popular Fox show Glee in 2013, as well as continuing to tour his stand-up comedy routine.
However, possibly the most exciting project lined up for Lawrence is his involvement in the highly anticipated The Chronicles of Rick Roll, an action-fantasy film which he is slated to star in as well as produce.
The film will center around Internet personalities that have become hugely popular in recent years with Lawrence playing a “really fun character that we have lined up for him,” according to the film’s co-producer Andrew Fischer.
With a successful, thriving career in multiple entertainment channels, Lawrence shows no signs of slowing down. Lawrence brings entertainment and good times to audiences everywhere; and he does it all with a humble, down-to-earth attitude putting family life with his wife of 10 years in high priority.
When asked what keeps him grounded in Hollywood, Lawrence recently commented, “My faith, first and foremost. Then, having a life partner who’s grounded.” With feet firmly planted on the ground, there’s no telling where Mark Christopher Lawrence will take off to next.
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