bio

Actor | Comedian | Event Host | Auctioneer | Inspirational Speaker 

Is the 2012 recipient of the San Diego Critics Circle’s Craig Noel Award for Outstanding Actor Of The Year. He’s an international headliner that has worked with the likes of Sinbad, Jerry Seinfeld, Rodney Dangerfield, and Jeff Foxworthy as well as, having headlined clubs and colleges all over the USA and Canada.

 

MCL is best known for his series regular role as Big Mike on the NBC TV series CHUCK. He recently completed production on the hit ADULT SWIM TV show BLACK JESUS and is recurring on The PureFlix Show Malibu Dan The Family Man. He can be seen on the Disney Channel’s original TV movie Life Is Ruff and guest appearances on Lab Rats, Good Luck Charlie, Heroes, Weeds, My Name Is Earl, Reba, Grounded for Life, Crossing Jordan, and Amazing America with Sarah Palin. MCL is in pre-production on several projects as a writer and/or producer and has just released on PureFlix.com his hilarious talk show Pure Comedy, which he also hosts. On video, you can watch MCL’s work in The Pursuit of Happyness, The Island, Garfield,

Terminator II, Fear of a Black Hat, and Cooties to list a few.

MARK CHRISTOPHER LAWRENCE


 

Mark Christopher Lawrence was born in the waning hours of May 22, 1964 in Los Angeles, California. He was raised in Compton, California by his single mother Gragu Lee Barnes (affectionately know as Lee) alongside his two siblings Jerry and Laura. As a child MCL was always rambunctious though a bit shy (until he got to know you), a trait that he outgrew with the help of his 10th grade English teacher Mrs.Patricia Schilling. She was instrumental in setting him on the career path of entertainment by introducing him to competitive speaking and theater and a mentor by the name of Perry Brents, who along with MCL’s best childhood friend Lennon Trotter got him not only interested but started in stand-up comedy in 1981, his junior year in high school. This introduction ultimately became the means by which his now nearly four decade long stand-up comedy career began. After winning the junior college Bovero-Tabor Award for Most Outstanding Speaker in the Nation, Dr. Thomas Hollihan Professor of Communication; Director of Doctoral Studies at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, offered MCL a debate team scholarship where he flourished in individual events and began studying theater at the USC School Of Dramatic Arts. His now over three decade long tv and film career was started with MCL working in professional theater and television during his first year in the BFA acting program at USC.

 

In 1986 MCL was cast by Director Sir Tony Richardson as Alexis in a six week run of William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra at the Los Angeles Theater Center, starring Rosalyn Cash, Mitchell Ryan, John Goodman and CCH Pounder. It was this production that catapulted his acting skills to the next level. He went on to perform in 10 plays at LATC. While working at LATC he became lifelong friends with actor Barry Shabaka Henley who has had a profound influence on his craft and life. While working at LATC, Henley, Tarabu Betserai Kirkland, Sati Jamal and MCL founded the Black Theater Artists Workshop where they produced productions and became a favorite stomping ground for a lot of Black Hollywood’s elite to congregate for collaborations on readings and productions. MCL, Henley and Rusty Cundieff performed a workshop favorite, The Black Horror Show penned by Cundieff  and directed by Sati Jamal, annually for Black History month. 1986 also was the year MCL was cast as a drug dealer (1 of 2 such roles in his entire career) in his first television role on Hill St. Blues, a groundbreaking show that changed the way “Cop Shows” are made. 

 

Approximately a year later MCL would be cast as a construction worker in his first film role in Caddy Shack 2. His career in film and television began to snowball after that landing him in a myriad of television sitcoms like Seinfeld, Murphy Brown, The George Wendt Show (MCL’s first series regular role) and five seasons on the NBC hit Chuck to name a few. His snowballing career and friendship with Rusty Cundieff casted him in his first lead role as Tone Def in Cundieff’s Fear Of A Black Hat and opened doors to blockbusters like Terminator II Judgement Day, Crimson Tide, K-Pax and The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith. MCL has been fortunate to work in many different capacities as an actor in film, television, stage, voiceover, in front of and behind the cameras. He has worked for every major network in the country. All of these experiences and relationships have lead MCL to a natural progression into producing. 

 

As a producer MCL has produced a six episode series for PureFlix.com entitled Pure Comedy. He co-produced the first VR comedy special, Mark Christopher Lawrence Live from the Mad House Comedy Club. This work has received the DreamlandXR award for Best Director and has been a FireFox VR Pick of the Week as well as having been nominated for an Emmy award. He’s currently in pre-production on his one-man stage show and an album of hymns where he showcases his more than capable vocal prowess. 

 

Other awards and nominations that MCL has been blessed to achieve are as follows: 

NAACP Award for Best Ensemble - Glasshouse

2010 San Diego Critics Circle Nomination for Best Actor - Boy Willie - Piano Lesson

2012 San Diego Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actor of the Year - A Raisin In The Sun/TopDog UnderDog

2012 San Diego Critics Circle Nomination for Best Actor - Walter Lee - A Raisin In The Sun

2012 San Diego Critics Circle Nomination for Best Actor - Lincoln - TopDog UnderDog

San Diego Critics Circle's

   Craig Noel Award for

Outstanding

Actor Of The Year 

2012

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