Catch up with the cast of 'Martin' and find out where they are now (2024)

For five seasons in the mid-'90s, Martin was appointment viewing for sitcom fans, part of a wave of Black comedies that anchored network lineups and developed major stars like Will Smith and Queen Latifah. Martin was so popular, it drew viewers away from NBC's powerhouse Thursday night lineup, lifting Fox to new heights in the ratings. Martin Lawrence played the title character, Martin Payne, who started on the series as a DJ for the fictional Detroit radio station WZUP and later became host of a TV show on Channel 51.

Martin's motormouth and selfishness drove many of the show's plots, as he often had to find a way to solve the problems he created for long-suffering girlfriend Gina (Tisha Campbell), friends Tommy (Thomas Mikal Ford) and Cole (Carl Anthony Payne II), and arch-enemy Pam (Tichina Arnold). Lawrence also created and portrayed an array of memorable characters who would show up at his apartment or around town, including Sheneneh Jenkins, Mama Payne, Otis the security guard, and Jerome the pimp. The show featured a cavalcade of catchphrases that still resonate with fans, from "Wazzup!" to "Damn, Gina!" to "Oh my goooodness."

The laughs turned serious in 1997, however, when Campbell accused Lawrence of sexual harassment and verbal assault, leading to her absence in most of the final season and an awkward end to the show in which Lawrence and Campbell never appeared in any scenes together despite their characters moving to Los Angeles to pursue their careers.

But Lawrence and Campbell appear to have put their issues behind them, as seen in the Martin: The Reunion special which aired on BET+ in 2022. Read on to find out what the cast has been up to since the show went off the air in 1997.

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Martin Lawrence (Martin Payne)

Catch up with the cast of 'Martin' and find out where they are now (1)

Martin Lawrence was already an established comedian, and had priorly appeared in projects like What's Happening Now!! and 1990's House Party, when he had his first breakthrough as the host of HBO's groundbreaking Def Comedy Jam. Lawrence capitalized on his sitcom success by joining forces with Michael Bay and Will Smith in 1995's Bad Boys, starting a run of box office hits that made him a household name even after Martin was over.

Lawrence, though, had a couple of disturbing episodes that sidetracked his career, including waving a gun in the middle of a busy L.A. street in 1996 and suffering a near-fatal coma from heat exhaustion in 1999. He returned to TV on 2014's short-lived Partners, and, in 2020, he reunited with Smith for Bad Boys for Life, a critical and financial success. Lawrence also starred in the B-movie thriller Mindcage (2022).

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Tisha Campbell (Gina Waters-Payne)

Catch up with the cast of 'Martin' and find out where they are now (2)

Like Lawrence, Campbell was already well known in Hollywood when she landed the Martin role of Gina. She had been acting and singing since she was a child, appearing at 17 in the 1986 film version of Little Shop of Horrors and the only-in-the-'80s musical dramedy Rags to Riches. Other early film work included appearances in the House Party film series, School Daze (1988), Another 48 Hrs (1990), and Boomerang (1992).

After her run on Martin, Campbell steadily appeared on TV, including stints on My Wife and Kids, All of Us, Dr. Ken, Empire, and Uncoupled. She's also continued to pursue music, releasing a single, "22 Summers," in 2019. Campbell works consistently in TV movies and voice-over projects, including Harley Quinn and Inside Job.

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Tichina Arnold (Pam James)

Catch up with the cast of 'Martin' and find out where they are now (3)

When Arnold landed the role of no-nonsense Pam on Martin, she too was an industry vet, having appeared alongside Campbell in Little Shop of Horrors and earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for her work on the soap Ryan's Hope. She also acted on All My Children from 1990 to 1991.

In the aftermath of Martin, Arnold maintained a steady pace of work, appearing regularly on the series One on One before starring as the matriarch on the hit CW show Everybody Hates Chris beginning in 2005.

Since 2018, Arnold has been plying her trade on CBS' series The Neighborhood alongside Cedric the Entertainer, although she has found time to appear in films like The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019), Countdown (2019), and The Main Event (2020).

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Carl Anthony Payne II (Cole Brown)

Catch up with the cast of 'Martin' and find out where they are now (4)

As Martin's dim but loyal friend Cole, Carl Anthony Payne II became a fan favorite on Martin, much as he had during his breakthrough role as Theo's friend co*ckroach on The Cosby Show.

Like the rest of the cast, Payne has stayed busy working in TV and film in the ensuing years. He's also gotten involved behind the camera, producing the 2019 series Last Call, on which he also starred, and directing the 2022 film Strange Love. Payne had a cameo as himself in 2023's House Party, and can be seen on the Nickelodeon show Tyler Perry's Young Dylan.

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Thomas Mikal Ford (Tommy Strawn)

Catch up with the cast of 'Martin' and find out where they are now (5)

The Martin reunion struck a somber tone in its remembrance of Thomas Mikal Ford, who, as level-headed (but always seemingly between jobs) Tommy, was the only other character besides Martin to appear in every episode of the show.

Ford died in 2016 of a ruptured abdominal aneurysm at 52. He left behind an impressive body of work that not only included roles in films like Harlem Nights (1989) and Class Act (1992), and on shows such as New York Undercover and The Parkers, but also a long career as a motivational speaker and children's book author.

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Jon Gries (Shawn McDermott)

Catch up with the cast of 'Martin' and find out where they are now (6)

Martin's co-workers at WZUP during the early seasons of the show were eased out of the cast when Martin moved over to the TV side. Jon Gries, who played quirky but lovable engineer Shawn, has a long string of appearances as a character actor, though he arguably is most known for playing Uncle Rico in 2004's Napoleon Dynamite.

His additional TV work includes arcs on Lost, The Bridge, Dream Corp LLC, and most notably, The White Lotus as Greg, Tanya's (Jennifer Coolidge) love interest.

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Garrett Morris (Stan Winters)

Catch up with the cast of 'Martin' and find out where they are now (7)

Garrett Morris was already a veteran of TV and movies when he appeared on Martin, having made a name for himself as one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live.

Still going strong all these years later, Morris has appeared on other sitcoms including The Wayans Brothers, had a long run on 2 Broke Girls, and has also guested on This Is Us and Station 19.

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Tracy Morgan (Hustle Man)

Catch up with the cast of 'Martin' and find out where they are now (8)

Tracy Morgan made his TV debut and appeared for several seasons as "Hustle Man," whose off-brand (and usually illegal) wares he often tried to peddle to Martin and his friends.

After leaving Martin in 1996, Morgan would go on to find success on Saturday Night Live. He would later team up with SNL castmate Tina Fey on 30 Rock as the inimitable Tracy Jordan, for which he scored an Emmy nomination. Though a car accident with a Walmart truck in 2014 nearly cost him his life and derailed his career, Morgan recovered and triumphantly bounced back in the years since, wrapping up a four-season run on The Last O.G. in 2021.

Catch up with the cast of 'Martin' and find out where they are now (2024)


Who was missing from the Martin reunion? ›

The missing link, however, was Thomas Mikal Ford. The actor who portrayed Tommy Strawn passed away in 2016 at age 52, according to Entertainment Tonight. After “Martin,” he would have a recurring role in “The Parkers” alongside Mo'Nique and be cast in several minor television and movie roles.

Why did Gina stop appearing on Martin? ›

She left the show in April 1997, after settling the lawsuit against Martin Lawrence of sexual harassment.

What broke up the Martin show? ›

The relationship between Martin and Gina was so important that the show died when Tisha Campbell-Martin filed a lawsuit citing sexual harassment and verbal abuse against Lawrence and HBO, the show's production company.

How many characters did Martin play in the Martin show? ›

Martin Lawrence: Martin Payne, Sheneneh Jenkins, Jerome, Edna 'Mama' Payne, Roscoe, King Beef, Bob, Elroy, Various, Voice of Announcer.

Why wasn't Tommy on the Martin reunion? ›

He added that the reunion was missing his “brother” Tommy Ford, who died in 2016 at the age of 52 from a surgery complication, and noted he wouldn't move forward with a reboot without his friend.

What happened to Stan on Martin? ›

At the time of the shooting, Morris was starring on Martin as Martin's first boss, Stan Winters. Morris' shooting rendered him temporarily unable to continue in the role; he was written out of the show by having the character become a national fugitive.

What was the real reason Martin was Cancelled? ›

Tisha Campbell Filed A Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Martin Lawrence. The main reason Martin was canceled, according to contemporary reports, was that by season 5, the relationship between Martin Lawrence and Tisha Campbell had completely fallen apart.

Which Martin character passed away? ›

Sean Lampkin, Actor Who Played Nipsey on 'Martin,' Dies at 54 - IMDb. Actor Sean Lampkin, best known for his role as bar owner Nipsey on the 1990s sitcom “Martin,” has died. He was 54. Marsel Watts, a friend of Lampkin, made the announcement in a Facebook post on March 8.

Did Martin and Pam date in real life? ›

The truth is Martin Lawrence and Tisha Campbell did not date in real life. They were friends and colleagues. It wasn't until the fifth season of Martin that their friendship started to change, and troubles arose.

Who was Martin's girlfriend in Martin? ›

Martin Lawrence played the role of Martin Payne, originally a disc jockey who lived with his girlfriend Gina Waters (Tisha Campbell) in the city of Detroit, Michigan.

How did the last episode of Martin end? ›

In the final scene of the series' finale, as Martin walks out of the apartment, and takes one last look, he stops at the door, picks up a marker and writes "1 LUV" on the wall. He signs it "Martin L". "L" is in reference to the actor's real last name, Lawrence. The character's last name was Payne.

Did Michael Jackson appear on Martin? ›

Martin goes to Hollywood to appear on a TV talk show. R&B music group JODECI special-guest-stars, and lookalikes of Madonna, Michael Jackson, Burt Reynolds, and Mel Gibson appear.

Why wasn't Cole at Martin and Gina's wedding? ›

Martin and Gina flee to the Bahamas from their bickering families with Tommy and Pam to elope. Cole was expected to join them, but he got on the wrong flight.

What happened to Sean from the Martin show? ›

An actor who appeared on the television sitcom Martin recently passed away. According to Deadline, Sean Lampkin, best known as Nipsey, the bar owner in the Martin Lawrence sitcom, reportedly died less than two weeks ago. He was 54. One of his relatives posted that the actor died in his sleep on March 8, 2023.

Why did Martin leave Martin show? ›

Tisha Campbell Filed A Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Martin Lawrence. The main reason Martin was canceled, according to contemporary reports, was that by season 5, the relationship between Martin Lawrence and Tisha Campbell had completely fallen apart.

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