My husband and I had a really good laugh when recently our two young neighbors (10 and 11 year olds) came running over to tell us about this funny new show with this funny guy named Will on it who had moved to California to live with his rich aunt and uncle. We laughed so hard at their reaction when we told them we’d seen the show, that in fact what they were watching was re-runs. They had a hard time grasping the fact that this young man was now fully grown and had children of his own.
This really sparked some questions in my mind. There were really some wonderful shows in the 80’s and 90’s that we “teens & young adults” watched faithfully. I’m talking about shows like – Saved By the Bell, A Different World, Family Matters, Full House, and of course, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Many of these shows seemed to have very promising young stars on them. Some of them have made it big time, like Will Smith and his wife Jada, Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, but where have some of the others gone to? If you’re curious like me, I’ve tracked them down and gotten the scoop on – Where Are They Now?
One of my favorite shows was Saved By the Bell. Who didn’t love Zack, Lisa, Jessie and goofy Screech? Of course you’ve probably recognized Mark-Paul Gosselaar on Commander In Chief and NYPD Blue, and Elizabeth Berkley (or Jessie) has had recurring roles on CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) and most recently Law & Order: Criminal Intent. But where are some of the others that seemed to have so much promise? Well, the part of Lisa Turtle was played by Lark Voorhies. Since Saved By the Bell, Lark has been kind of in and out of the public’s eye.
She has guest starred in many other sitcoms like The Parkers, Malcolm and Eddie, and In the House, has starred in a few movies like Fire & Ice also starring Kadeem Harrison (who was part of the cast of A Different World) and has done some commercials and music videos. Some of you might have seen her as Jasmine Malone on the soap opera – The Bold and the Beautiful, but most recently she has been in the news because she filed a lawsuit against the National Enquirer for slander when they published an article saying that she had a cocaine addiction.
One of the funniest characters on the show was Screech played by Dustin Diamond. He was not seen for many years after the ending of Saved By the Bell. It seems that he has tried his hand at both a music career and stand up comedy. Over the last 3-4 years he’s landed some minor movie roles. Perhaps the role of Screech limited him. And what about Slater? Remember he had a short stint on a male talk show called The Other Half? Well he’s also been seen in shows like Pacific Blue and The Bold and the Beautiful.
A Different World was one of my favorites as I attended a historically black university and could truly relate to the story lines. A spin off from The Cosby Show, this show continued on even after it’s star – Lisa Bonet left due to pregnancy. After she left, a young a budding star, Jasmine Guy, stepped up as the star of the show. Remember she played the role of a boosie “southern bell” (Whitley Gilbert). Jasmine being multi-talented, has continued on doing film, theater (toured with Grease and the musical Chicago), television and in 1990 released a solo album (although I don’t think it hit the charts or anything). She’s also written a book about the later Tupac Shukar (Jasmine is very good friends with his mother). Her television hubby (Dwayne Wayne played by Kadeem Hardison) has had quite a bit of success in the movies. But where are some of the others? What about Dwayne’s best friend Ron Johnson?
The character of Ron Johnson was played by Darryl M. Bell. He played in a few episodes of the show – Cosby in which Bill Cosby played Hilton Lucas, a man who was forced to retire, and has a few small roles in movies. Although he would not be considered a “Hollywood Star” he has been able to practice his art pretty steadily in minor roles. For a short while he dated the promising med student, Kimberly Reese. The part of Kim was played by Charnele Brown who is probably most remembered for shedding some pounds during the “off-season” and coming back healthy and slender in the “new season”.
Charnele like Darryl Bell, has worked on and off having landed work on sitcoms like Living Single and Girlfriends. I understand she has opened an acting school in Houston with a taxi-driver (sounds strange doesn’t it). She seems to be keeping her classes pretty full. Oddly, probably the most successful person in Hollywood from this show is rarely seen. Remember the “earthy/politically conscious” Freddie Brooks played by Cree Summer. Well although you rarely see Cree on the big screen or even television, you hear her voice all of the time in cartoons like Garbage Pail Kids, Bambi II, X-Men Legends, The Proud Family and The Rugrats. She has stayed very, very busy and seems to have really found her niche in cartoons and animation.
Most known from the show Full House are the Olsen twins. These girls haven’t missed a beat in staying in the limelight in Hollywood. Clothing lines, dolls, movies, magazines and the like, they are busy, busy, busy. But where are some of the other young stars from Full House? Candace Cameron Bure played the eldest sister (DJ) on Full House. Can you believe she is all grown up and a wife (she’s married to a professional hockey player) and mother of three? That’s enough to keep anyone busy. Although she has had some (although very little) work in television and movies, like many wives and mothers, it seems that Candace’s career has taken a back seat to family.
Jodie Sweetin (Stephanie Tanner) went on to college and graduated from Chapman University in California. At one time she wanted to become a teacher, but still seems to be trying to break back into acting. She landed a role in a couple of episodes of Party of Five and guest starred on Yes Dear in 2003. Although she was not one of the stars, my favorite character was Kimmy Gibbler. Remember she was best friends with DJ? Her part was played by Andrea Garber who seems to have left showbiz all together since the ending of Full House. She is married with one child and she and her husband were most recently reported as studying at the University of York in England.
Who can forget that irritating grunt and snort that Jaleel White used to make as his character Stever Urkel in the sitcom Family Matters? Jaleel White continued his education graduating from UCLA’s film school in 2001. While in film school he continued in television as the voice of Sonic/Mania/Sonia in Sonic Underground, and starred in the short-lived comedy Grown Ups. Since graduating from film school, he seems to be getting some work in movies. Now, to be quite honest with you, I assumed that Jaimee Foxworth (who played Judy Winslow) was related to one of the producers because I thought she was a horrible little actress. After her character was eliminated on Family Matters, Jaimee continued with her studies and later signed with Shaq as part of a singing group called S.H.E.
Unfortunately, this young lady got caught up in the world of porn and became well known for her work as “Crave” in porn films. For the last few years she’s tried to pursue other acting opportunities and has left that lifestyle. What about the love of Urkel’s life – “the lovely Laura Winslow.”, played by Kellie Shanygne Williams? Kellie has made several guest appearances in sitcoms such as Moesha, The Parkers and Girlfriends. She’s also landed parts in a couple of unsuccessful movies like Ride. In the fall, Kellie can be seen on the big screen with her former cast member Darius McCrary (Eddie Winslow) in a movie entitled – Steppin: The Movie. Darius has had quite a bit of success in television, movies, song writing and music producing. His musical talent was shown a little on Family Matters but I just loved him in the movie Something to Sing About. In addition to movies, he’s also had recurring television roles like Bowie in Committed, and Jamal in Eve.
Since the airing of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will Smith has become a household name. But what about that cute little girl who played Ashley? I know she’d cut an album but what has she done since then. Tatyana Ali went on to get her degree in Afro-American History from Harvard University. Actually Tatyana has become a true movie star. Most recently you’ve probably seen her in Glory Road, but she’s also been in other movies like – Back in the Day, Nora’s Hair Salon, National Lampoon Presents Dorm Daze and The Brothers. Karyn Parsons did a wonderful job in her role as the rich and spoiled Hilary Banks.
She was wonderful in the movie Major Payne and later starred in other movies such as Mixing Nia and The LadiesMan. While working on the movie 13 Moons, she met her husband Director Alexandre Rockwell, and they were married in 2003. Last but not least is Alfonso Ribeiro (aka Carlton Banks). Although Alfonso is not seen a lot in front of the camera, he is very busy behind the camera directing popular sitcoms – One on One, Eve, All of Us and Cuts. Possibly he got his break when he was allowed to direct on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.