In 1986, Arnold appeared as Crystal, one of the three chorus girls who perform R&B numbers in Frank Oz's film musical Little Shop of Horrors (1986) along with future Martin co-star Tisha Campbell. Arnold was only sixteen at the time of filming, and her career continued steadily after that, with a role or two almost every year, including the films How I Got into College and the Paul Mazursky/Woody Allen collaboration Scenes from a Mall (1991). In February 1987 Arnold scored her first big break on television, with a permanent role on the soap opera Ryan's Hope. Her critically lauded role, as young heroine Zena Brown, landed her a Daytime Emmy Award nomination in 1988. She continued in the role until the series ended in January 1989. Later that year, Arnold was cast as Sharla Valentine, a high-school friend of Emily Ann Sago (played by Liz Vassey) on the ABC-TV daytime drama All My Children. She continued in the role until 1991. Arnold's best-known television role was Pamela James on Martin Lawrence's sitcom Martin (1992–1997). She also played the recurring role of Nicole Barnes on the sitcom One on One. In 2000, she was reunited with Martin Lawrence in Big Momma's House. In 2007, she again reunited with Lawrence (this time as his character's wife) in the big screen road comedy/buddy film Wild Hogs. In 2003, she appeared in Civil Brand. Arnold played the role of the matriarch, Rochelle, on the sitcom Everybody Hates Chris which premiered in September 2005 and ended in May 2009. In a departure from her known comedic roles, she played the title role in The Lena Baker Story (2008), which was about the first and only woman to be executed by the electric chair in Georgia.
Campbell's first television appearance was at the age of six, in an episode in 1974 of the PBS show The Big Blue Marble. As a child, she won many talent shows, going on to appear in such children's programs as Kids Are People Too, Unicorn Tales, and Captain Kangaroo. At age 18, she performed in the musical feature film, Little Shop of Horrors as Chiffon, one of The Supremes like girl group Greek Chorus, along with future Martin co star, Tichina Arnold.
In 1992, Campbell released her debut album, Tisha, which was a moderate success, selling 40,000 copies. Two singles received minor airplay on the R&B stations: "Push", which was co written and produced by Campbell's' friend, Vanilla Ice, and "Love Me Down". Campbell contributed vocals for the soundtrack of the 1997 film, Sprung, in which she starred, singing a cover version of "Don't Ask My Neighbor" with her Martin costar Tichina Arnold.
In 1998, Arnold started her own company of designer headgear called "China Moon Rags". The headbands were Swarovski crystal-embroidered bandanas. Celebrities such as her best friend Michel'le, Tisha Campbell, Janet Jackson, Vivica A. Fox, Regina King, Christina Aguilera and LisaRaye McCoy have modeled and been seen wearing Arnold's designs. When her daughter was born, she stopped production.
Tichina Rolanda Arnold (born June 28, 1969) is an American actress, comedian, and singer. She began her career as a child actor, appearing in supporting roles in Little Shop of Horrors (1986) and How I Got into College (1989) before being cast as Pamela "Pam" James on the FOX sitcom Martin, which she played from 1992 until the show ended in 1997. Arnold also played the family matriarch Rochelle on the UPN/CW sitcom Everybody Hates Chris from 2005 to 2009, and portrayed Judi Mann in the TV Land original sitcom Happily Divorced from 2011 to 2013. From 2014 to 2017, she played the lead role of Cassie Calloway on Survivor's Remorse. Since 2018, Arnold currently plays Tina Butler in the CBS sitcom series The Neighborhood.
Set in Detroit, Michigan the series stars Martin Lawrence in the role of Martin Payne, a disc jockey with his girlfriend Gina Waters (Tisha Campbell). Martin works for the fictional radio station WZUP and later for local Public-access television station Channel 51. A common theme of the series is Martin's selfish and free-spirited nature. Episodes often center on Martin's inappropriate behaviors and incessant smart mouth towards his friends, neighbors, and whoever else finds themselves in his presence. When all is said and done, however, Martin loves his family and friends—it just takes dire situations for him to show it.
In January 1997, Lawrence's Martin co-star Tisha Campbell-Martin filed a lawsuit against him, alleging sexual harassment and abuse both on and off set. By April 1997, Campbell had settled the lawsuit, and returned to appear in the last two episodes of the series.
During his stint with Def Comedy Jam, Lawrence appeared in his own hit series, Martin, which aired on Fox. The show ran from 1992 to 1997 and was an enormous success. Martin was the flagship of Fox's Thursday-night line-up, which drew millions of viewers away from NBC's "Must See TV" line-up. He hosted Saturday Night Live on February 19, 1994, where he made crude remarks about women's genitalia and personal hygiene; the monologue was completely edited out of NBC reruns and syndicated versions, and Lawrence was banned from the show for life. Martin's ratings continued to skyrocket so much that Fox became more of a contender against NBC and came closer to being considered among the top television networks.
Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence (born April 16, 1965) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, producer, talk show host, and writer. Lawrence came to fame during the 1990s, establishing a Hollywood career as a leading actor, most notably in the Fox television sitcom Martin and the films House Party, Boomerang, Bad Boys, Wild Hogs, Nothing to Lose, Blue Streak, Life, Big Momma's House and A Thin Line Between Love & Hate.