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Mark Christopher Lawrence

Lawrence at the 2009 Comic Con in San Diego.
Born May 22, 1964 (1964-05-22) (age 45)
Los Angeles, California
Occupation character actor
stand-up comedian
voice-over artist
Years active 1988-present
Official website

Mark Christopher Lawrence (born May 22, 1964) is an American character actor, stand-up comedian and voice-over artist. He is perhaps best known for his role as esoteric D.J., Tone Def, in the 1994 satirical rap mockumentary, Fear of a Black Hat. He has co-starred in popular films such as Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Planet of the Apes, and The Pursuit of Happyness.

Lawrence can be seen in his current regular role as Big Mike on the NBC series Chuck. He has made guest appearances on many television programs, most notably Heroes, My Name Is Earl, Crossing Jordan, Dharma & Greg, Malcolm in the Middle, Touched by an Angel, Malcolm & Eddie, Men Behaving Badly, Seinfeld, Murphy Brown, and Martin.

Early life and education

A native of Compton, California, Lawrence and his two siblings were raised by a single mother. In tenth grade, he became involved with his high school’s debate team—immersing himself in forensics competitions and theater. After winning his school district’s Literary Olympiad competition, Lawrence went on to compete at the state and national levels as a member of the Cerritos Community College forensics squad. There he went on to capture the collegiate Bovero-Tabor Award, awarded to the top junior college speaker in the country.

Lawrence gained the attention of the University of Southern California’s debate team coaches, and was awarded a full scholarship to attend the university. While at USC, he traveled the nation competing in tournaments. Meanwhile, he was gaining valuable experience in his craft by moonlighting at the Los Angeles Theater Center. There, a Hollywood talent agent noticed his skill and landed Lawrence his first job in television, a role on Hill Street Blues.

After graduation from USC, he worked with the San Francisco Mime Troupe while also performing standup comedy throughout the United States, Australia, and Canada, opening for major acts, such as Jerry Seinfeld and Rodney Dangerfield.

Lawrence's work in live theater led to a Dramalogue Award for his performance in Reza Abdoh’s, Minimanta. He won an NAACP award for his work in Ken Davis' The Glass House in 1990. It was this role which attracted the attention of director, James Cameron, who then cast him as the "burly insane asylum attendant" in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

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