I can remember watching Raven Symone in the late 1980s as a young child who took the country by storm as the youngest member of the cast of the beloved “Cosby Show” waaaay back in 1989. Now, my nine-year-old daughter, Tia, is a Raven fan who can’t get enough of her extremely hilarious, Disney Channel sitcom, “That’s So Raven.” The point is, although Symone is still a young person by almost any standard, she has been in front of a television camera almost since the time she learned how to walk.
Raven began her career as a child model in her native Atlanta, Ga. When her family moved to New York, she quickly signed with the prominent Ford Modeling Agency. In 1989, she auditioned for a part in the feature film “Ghost Dad,” starring Bill Cosby and although she was too young for the role, her personality and ability for memorizing lines greatly impressed the casting directors, who brought her to Cosby’s attention.
After meetings with the writers and producers of “The Cosby Show,” as well as with Cosby, Symone landed the role of Olivia Kendall and made her television debut in 1989 at the ripe old age of three. Following her stint on “The Cosby Show,” Symone went on to star as ‘Nicole’ on the top-rated series “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper” for four seasons.
Symone made her feature film debut in Penelope Spheeris’ “The Little Rascals” and began her recording at the age of five when she signed a contract with MCA Records. Symone has also performed on Broadway, singing with the Boys Choir of Harlem as part of their 25th Anniversary celebration.
Raven has also received several Youth in Film Awards, an NAACP Junior Achievement Award for Excellence in a TV series and was nominated for a People’s Choice Award for Outstanding Young Performer and the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a TV series.
Raven has also appeared on “Sesame Street,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks “Five Decade Salute to Music” Disney special, “The Muppets at Walt Disney World,” Lifetime’s “Take your Daughter to Work Special” and ABC’s “A Night of Magic,” just to mention a few of her roles. She was also the youngest person to host NBC’s “Friday Night Videos”, and also hosted NBC’s “Saturday Morning Videos”.
Symone was the voice of Goldilocks in the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears for the HBO animated series “Happily Ever After”. Raven has been a presenter at the “People’s Choice Awards”, “NAACP Image Awards”, “The International Emmys”, “Night of a Hundred Stars”, Nickelodeon’s “Kids Choice Awards”, and the “Jim Thorpe Sports Awards”.
She was also Muhammad Ali’s special guest at his 50th birthday celebration (an ABC special) and also represented the world’s children in a televised tribute to Dr Seuss. Raven played Eddie Murphy’s daughter in the blockbuster hit “Dr. DoLittle” and has dozens of print ads and television commercials to her credit as well. Raven still resides in Atlanta with her parents and her brother Blaize.
Raven will also be appearing this year in “Everyone’s Hero,” “Cheetah Girls 2” and next year, in a film titled “Double Dutch.”
Throughout the annals of cinematic and television history, there have been numerous actors that have made their mark from childhood star to full-fledged adult icon – and Raven Symone is well on her way to becoming the biggest star of them all.