Lawrence Gilliard was born in New York City. He and his family moved to Baltimore, Maryland when he was seven years old. He studied classical music at Baltimore School for the Arts.
After attending Juilliard School for three years as a clarinet performance student, he decided to pursue acting instead of music. He also studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, The Acting Studio and the Stella Adler Conservatory.
- Walk of Shame
- The Machinist
- The Substitute 2: School's Out
- Fear Itself
- Next Stop Wonderland
- The Pickle
- In the Line of Duty: Street War
- Brother to Brother
- Would You Rather
- He is one of the three The Wire alumni to be cast on the TV Series, alongside Chad Coleman and Seth Gilliam.
- Both he and Chris Coy currently star in HBO's The Deuce.