Manuel Laskaris was a member of the Laskaris family and one of the six brothers of Theodore I Laskaris (1204-1222). In the years of John III Vatatzes (1222-1254), he was in disgrace, while when Theodore II Laskaris assumed the throne (1254-1958), he was recalled along with the rest of his relatives. He became an important trusty counselor of the emperor and was honoured by him with the notable title of protosebastos. He was not a successful fighter in the battlefield, though. After Theodore II died in 1258, he did not support the election of Michael Palaiologos as the regent of John IV Laskaris and, as a result, was exiled in Prousa.