Jasmine Guy

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Jasmine Guy
Born(1962-03-10) March 10, 1962 (age 50)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
OccupationActress, singer, dancer
Years active1982–present
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Jasmine Guy
Born(1962-03-10) March 10, 1962 (age 50)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
OccupationActress, singer, dancer
Years active1982–present

Jasmine Guy (born March 10, 1962)[1] is an American actress, singer, and dancer. She is best known for her starring role as Whitley Gilbert in the television sitcom A Different World.



Born to an African American father and Portuguese American mother,[2] Guy was raised in the affluent historic Collier Heights neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia, where she attended the former Northside Performing Arts High School (now North Atlanta High School). Her mother is Jaye Rudolph (1930-), a former high school teacher, and her father, the Reverend William Guy (1928-), was pastor of the historic Friendship Baptist Church of Atlanta, which served as an early home to Spelman College. At the age of 17, she moved to New York City to study dance at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center.[3]

Personal life

Jasmine Guy married Terrence Duckett in August 1998, and the couple had one child, a daughter named Imani, born in 1999. On April 8, 2008, People reported that the actress and her husband of nearly 10 years were divorcing due to irreconcilable differences. Guy and her daughter live in Atlanta,.[4]

Guy was a good friend of slain rapper Tupac Shakur, whom she met through her A Different World co-star Jada Pinkett Smith. Guy collaborated with Shakur's mother, Afeni, to write a biography of her life as a former Black Panther. The book, "Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary" was published in 2005 by Simon and Schuster and received critical acclaim for its poignancy.

Guy was also friends with O. J. Simpson, and is still very close friends with Kadeem Hardison and many other former cast mates.[citation needed]

Acting career

Television roles

Guy began her television career with a non-speaking role, as a dancer, in ten episodes of the 1982 television series Fame under the direction of choreographer Debbie Allen.[5] Following a move to California, she had a role in a 1991 episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, playing Kayla, one of Will Smith's girlfriends.

In 1992, Guy appeared in CBS's Stompin' At The Savoy with Vanessa Williams and, again, under the direction of Debbie Allen,[6] and in 1993 played the mother of Halle Berry's character in the CBS TV mini-series Alex Haley's Queen, based upon Haley's book Queen: The Story of an American Family.

In 1995, Guy appeared as Peter Burns's love interest Caitlin Mills on two episodes of Melrose Place, and in 1996, appeared on Living Single playing a psychologist advising Khadijah who had began exhibiting symptoms of bipolar disorder. She also played the recurring role of Kathleen, a fallen angel in the CBS Network drama Touched by an Angel from 1995 to 1997.

In 2002, Guy lent her voice to the PBS math-based animated series Cyberchase, performing Ava, the queen of the cybersite Symmetria, and made a cameo appearance on the Moesha spin-off The Parkers. In 2003, Ms. Guy read as Mary Estes Peters in the HBO documentary, Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narrative, a documentary which premiered during Black History month. The slave narratives were based on the WPA slave interviews conducted during the 1930s with over two-thousand former slaves.

Guy starred alongside Ellen Muth and Mandy Patinkin in the series Dead Like Me, created by Bryan Fuller. The show ran 29 episodes over two seasons, in 2003 and 2004, on Showtime. Guy played Roxy Harvey, a meter maid turned police officer and one of the core group of grim reapers around which the series was based. Guy was nominated for the 2005 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for the role. She later starred in the feature-length series sequel Dead Like Me: Life After Death, which was released on video in 2009 before being shown on the Syfy channel.

In 2009, Guy performed in The People Speak, a documentary that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States”.[7] A broad look at civil rights issues in America, The People Speak was executive produced by and seen on The History Channel.[8]

In 2010, she was seen in the second season of Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva as a judge in the episode titled "Last Year's Model",[9] and from 2009 until 2011, Guy had a recurring role in The CW's series The Vampire Diaries. Ms. Guy played Sheila "Grams" Bennett, the grandmother of Bonnie (Katerina Graham), who turned out to be a descendant of Salem Witches.[10] Both series are filmed in the Atlanta area.

Almost 20 years after the series' sixth and final season, Ms. Guy today remains best known for her starring role as southern belle Whitley Gilbert in the television sitcom A Different World. A spin-off from The Cosby Show and created by Cosby himself, the show aired from 1987 to 1993 on NBC. Guy wrote three episodes of the show and directed one, in addition to appearing in every episode.[4] Guy was nominated for and won six consecutive NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, from 1990 to 1995. Ms. Guy has received that award more times than any other actress.

Film roles

Guy's first appearance on the big screen came in 1988 in Spike Lee's musical-drama film School Daze. Guy played the role of Dina, a member of the light-skinned, straight-haired African American women of Gamma Ray (a women's auxiliary to the Gamma Phi Gamma fraternity).[3] Filming on School Daze was completed just prior to her joining the cast of A Different World.

The following year, Guy appeared as Dominique La Rue in Harlem Nights starring Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor. In the 1989 film, Pryor portrays Harlem "Sugar" Ray, the owner of an illegal casino who contends with the pressures of vicious gangsters and corrupt policemen trying to drive him out of business in 1930s Harlem. Guy's character was the girlfriend of Ray's nemesis, who set out to seduce and kill Murphy.

In 1997, she provided the voice of Sawyer in the Warner Bros. animated film Cats Don't Dance. In 2011, Guy appeared in the film, October Baby.


In 1987, Guy had a starring role in the off-Broadway hit musical Beehive, before traveling to France to appear in a similar musical review.[5] Guy has performed in several Broadway productions and national tours, including as Crow in The Wiz, Mickey in Leader of the Pack, Betty Rizzo in Grease, and as Velma Kelly in Chicago.

On April 6, 2009, Playbill reported on Guy's return to the stage, starring in the True Colors Theatre Company production of Pearl Cleage's Blues for an Alabama Sky. Directed by Andrea Frye, the show was a last minute addition to the company's season and opened May 4 in Atlanta.[11] Blues came on the heels of Guy's held-over run in True Colors' Miss Evers' Boys, which co-starred TC Carson (Living Single).[12]

Guy directed the world premiere of the musical I Dream in July 2010 on the Alliance Stage of the Woodruff Arts Centre in Atlanta. Also in 2010, Guy was a member of the cast of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Alliance Theatre Company co-production of Pearl Cleage’s The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Presence at a Celebration of Their First One-Hundred Years. The production ran Sept. 24 through Oct. 3 at the Festival in Montgomery, Alabama, before moving to Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre for performances Oct. 20 thru Nov. 14.

In early 2011, Guy directed George C. Wolfe's The Colored Museum for True Colors,[13] and in June 2011, Ms. Guy costarred with Kenny Leon in their production of Sam Shepard's play Fool For Love at The Balzer Theater at Herren’s in Atlanta, Georgia.[14]

In August 2010, Jasmine Guy joined True Colors Theatre Company in an off stage role as the company's Producing Director. In announcing the hire, True Colors said Guy's full-time position would be both administrative and artistic, and both local and national. Guy continues to contribute to the company on stage as well.[13]

Other media

During the run of A Different World, Ms. Guy released her self-titled debut album in 1990. The album peaked at #143 on the US Top 200 Album Chart and spawned three singles: "Try Me" (US R&B #14); "Another Like My Lover" (US #66, US R&B #9); and "Just Want to Hold You" (US #34, US R&B #27), with the last single cracking the main US Top 40 singles chart.

In the spring of 2006, Guy spoke to the graduating class at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and revealed that she planned to record a second album. She commented that of all the entertainment industries, she felt the music industry was the worst. She intended to sell her new album online herself and not through a record company.[citation needed]

The actress recorded a public service announcement for Deejay Ra's 'Hip-Hop Literacy' campaign, encouraging listeners to read books about Tupac Shakur.


1982Fame (TV series)Dancer (10 episodes)
1986The Equalizer (TV series)Gloria
1987At Mother's Request (TV movie)Bank Teller
1987A Different World (TV series)Whitley Marion Gilbert WayneMain role; 136 episodes (1987–1993)
1988School DazeDina
1989Runaway (TV movie)Charlene 'Charlie'
1989Harlem NightsDominique La Rue
1990A Killer Among Us (TV movie)Theresa Hopkins
1991The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (TV series)Kayla Samuels
1992Stompin' at the Savoy (TV movie)Alice
1993Boy Meets Girl (TV movie)Lena
1993Queen (TV mini-series)Easter
1995Going, Going, Almost Gone! Animals in Danger (TV movie)(voice)
1995Melrose Place (TV series)Caitlin Mills
1995NYPD Blue (TV series)LaVonna Runnels
1996Living Single (TV series)Dr. Jessica Bryce
1996America's Dream (TV movie)Elna Du Vaul(segment: "The Boy Who Painted Christ Black")
1996The Outer Limits (TV series)Captain Teri Washington
1996Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (TV series)Angela Winters
1995Touched by an Angel (TV series)Kathleen(3 episodes, 1995–1997)
1997Cats Don't DanceSawyer(voice)
1997Perfect Crime (TV movie)Capt. Darnell Russell
1997Malcolm & Eddie (TV series)Paige
1999Partners (TV series)Amanda
1999Any Day Now (TV series)
1999Ladies Man (TV series)Allegra
2000Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child (TV series)Frog Princess Lylah
2000Linc's (TV series)Courtney Goode
2000The Law Of Enclosures
2000Diamond MenTina
2001Dying on the EdgeNikki
2001Feast of All Saints (TV movie)Juliet Mercier
2002Cyberchase (TV series)Ava, Queen of Symmetria & Ms. Fileshare(voice)
2002Carrie (TV movie)Ruby Moore(uncredited)
2002The Parkers (TV series)Delilah
2003Dead Like Me (TV series)Roxy HarveyMain role; 29 episodes (2003–2004)
2006Ways of the Flesh (Film)
2006That's So Raven (TV series)Pistáche
2008Tru LovedCynthia
2009Dead Like Me: Life After DeathRoxy Harvey(video)
2010The Vampire Diaries (TV series)Sheila BennettRecurring role; 7 episodes (2009 - 2012)
2010Drop Dead Diva (TV series)Judge Nona Daniels
2010Kasha and the Zulu King (TV movie)Ngazi(voice)
2012Let's Stay Together (TV series)Herself (1 episode)
2012October BabyMary





  1. ^ Intelius People Search
  2. ^ Thompson, Kevin D. (2008). "Jasmine Guy: Flashback Friday - The star of "A Different World" on being Whitley, her impending divorce, and growing up biracial". Essence. 
  3. ^ a b Bernstein, Fred (1987-11-09). "After Years of Trying to Fit In, Actress Jasmine Guy at Last Finds Happiness in A Different World". People Magazine: pp. Vol. 28, No. 19. http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20097541,00.html. Retrieved 2012-01-26. 
  4. ^ a b Holman, Curt (2010-01-28). "Speakeasy with Jasmine Guy". Creative Loafing Atlanta (CL Inc.). http://clatl.com/atlanta/speakeasy-with-jasmine-guy/Content?oid=1286564. Retrieved 2012-01-26. 
  5. ^ a b Buck, Jerry (1988-01-17). "Jasmine Guy Brings Life ro 'World'". Tri-City Herald: pp. 39. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=pt4qAAAAIBAJ&sjid=IogFAAAAIBAJ&pg=2408,685718&dq=jasmine-guy+broadway&hl=en. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  6. ^ "Dreams Of Long Ago". Chicago Tribune. 1992-04-12. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1992-04-12/features/9202020788_1_darnell-williams-peebles-dreams. Retrieved 2012-01-26. 
  7. ^ http://www.thepeoplespeak.com/pages/credits/
  8. ^ Kinon, Cristina (2009-07-30). "'The People Speak' about democracy on History Channel". Daily News. http://articles.nydailynews.com/2009-07-30/entertainment/17928469_1_howard-zinn-history-channel-readings. Retrieved 2012-01-26. 
  9. ^ DiNunno, Gina (May 26, 2010). "Drop Dead Diva Casts Jasmine Guy and Lauren Stamile". TVGuide.com. http://www.tvguide.com/News/Guy-Stamile-Diva-1018970.aspx. 
  10. ^ Keck, William (September 15, 2009). "Jasmine Guy Vamps It Up". TV Guide Magazine. http://www.tvguidemagazine.com/kecks-exclusives/jasmine-guy-vamps-it-up-2353.html. Retrieved April 13, 2010. 
  11. ^ Hetrick, Adam (2009-04-06). "Jasmine Guy to Sing Blues for an Alabama Sky at True Colors". Playbill. http://www.playbill.com/news/article/128042.html. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  12. ^ Eldridge, Richard (2009-03-19). "Peach Buzz: A Sexy, Sudsy ‘Dream’ Assignment". Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta Journal-Constitution). http://www.playbill.com/news/article/128042.html. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  13. ^ a b Curt, Holman (2010-08-16). "True Colors Theatre hires Jasmine Guy as full-time staffer". Creative Loafing (Creative Loafing Inc.). http://clatl.com/culturesurfing/archives/2010/08/16/true-colors-theatre-hires-jasmine-guy-as-full-time-staffer. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  14. ^ Creative Loafing Event Calendar, http://clatl.com/atlanta/fool-for-love/Event?oid=3327893 

External links