The Cast of A Different World: Where Are They Now

Here's the latest on the TV alum from Hillman College.


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A Different World - It’s been 25 years since A Different World first premiered on television, and the fictional Hillman alumni taught TV audiences a lot about life and love all in the name of higher education. ADW survived a rocky high school-like freshman TV year, two theme song singers (Phoebe Snow and Aretha Franklin) plus cast changes. Audiences tuned in for six successful seasons of the highly rated sitcom. Here’s what the cast has been up to since their TV college years.(Photo: NBCU Photo Bank)


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Lisa Bonet starred as Denise Huxtable - The former Mrs. Lenny Kravitz was spun off from The Cosby Show to A Different World in 1987. She only lasted one season, but post ADW she starred in films Enemy of the State, High Fidelity and Biker Boyz. In addition to actress daughter Zoe with Kravitz, Bonet, who also goes by the name Lilakoi Moon, has two young children with current husband and actor Jason Momoa.(Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)


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Marisa Tomei portrayed Maggie Lauten - Blink and you have may have missed Tomei’s turn as the white coed at the fictional Historically Black College. Maggie roomed with Jaleesa and Denise but by season two she was gone.  Tomei went on to star in The Ides of March, Crazy, Stupid, Love. and The Wrestler and she earned an Oscar Best Supporting Actress for her role in My Cousin Vinny.(Photo: Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)


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A Different World director Debbie Allen - By season two, the Fame matriarch turned director injected social and topical subject matters like AIDS awareness, date rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence and race relations and into the show’s weekly story lines. Allen’s career continues to mix acting (Touched by an Angel, The Old Settler and Fame 2009) along with directing (Girlfriends, Everybody Hates Chris and Grey’s Anatomy.)(Photo: Walter McBride/Getty Images)


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Jasmine Guy played Whitley Gilbert - When Bonet left ADW, Guy became the series star and Whitley’s on-again-off again love affair with Dwayne Wayne kept audiences tuned in. After her Hillman years, the divorced mom of one kept busy on the small screen by starring in Touched by an Angel, Dead Like Me and The Vampire Diaries.(Photo: Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)


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Kadeem Hardison as Dwayne Wayne - Hardison went from adorable nerd in season one to cool, brainy guy in subsequent ones. The former husband of singer Chante Moore and dad also starred in such movies as Panther, Vampire in Brooklyn with Eddie Murphy and Biker Boyz. Hardison could also be seen on TV in Between Brothers, Life Is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story and Parenthood.(Photo: Kristy Sparow/WireImage)


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Darryl Bell portrayed Ron Johnson - As Dwayne’s sidekick Ron Johnson, Bell kept ADW audiences laughing with his schemes to get paid and get girls. He later went on to star in the controversial comedy Homeboys in Outer Space, Cosby and the reality show The Househusbands of Hollywood. Bell has been dating longtime love and former Cosby Show kid Tempestt Bledsoe, since 1993.(Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images For Thurgood Marshall College Fund)


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Charnele Brown played Kim Reese - Brown gave a dose of down to earthiness in her portrayal of sensible pre med student Kim Reese. Following A Different World, Brown could be seen in a variety of guest star appearances on television including Martin, Living Single, Girlfriends and My Wife and Kids.(Photo: Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)


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Dawnn Lewis as Jaleesa Vinson - As Jaleesa, Lewis enjoyed an onscreen romance with Sinbad and a TV marriage to Glynn Turman. But in real life she helped composed the theme song with ADW creator Bill Cosby. The divorced actress is  working harder than ever in TV starring in The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Reed Between The Lines, The Cleveland Show and Futurama.(Photo: Leon Bennett/Getty Images)


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Cree Summer played Freddie Brooks - She played quirky and frazzled Freddie Brooks, but in real-life during ADW's run she was in a long-term relationship with costar Kadeem Hardison. Summer later released an album produced by Lenny Kravitz, and today works as a very successful voice actor. She’s starred in popular animated series Rugrats, Clifford The Big Red Dog, The Looney Tunes Show, Word Girl and the Pound Puppies.(Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images)


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Sinbad starred as Walter Oakes - For four years, Sinbad served as ADW's unofficial student adviser and BFF to the faculty. On the big screen he starred in Houseguest, Coneheads and Jingle All the Way with Arnold Schwarznegger. On TV he starred in The Sinbad Show,  Are We There Yet?, Celebrity Apprentice and Sinbad: It's Just Family.(Photo: Adam Bettcher/Getty Images for Starkey Hearing Foundation)


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Lou Myers portrayed Vernon Gaines - He played the ornery but lovable patriarchal Pit cook Mr. Gaines, but Myers has since enjoyed a career on stage and screen. He starred on Broadway in The Color Purple and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof plus on screen in Living Single, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Bulworth and Lackawanna Blues.(Photo: Steve Grayson/WireImage)


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Glynn Turman was cast as Col. Brad Taylor - The former spouse of Aretha Franklin brought students and faculty to attention as Col. Taylor but his numerous roles in film and TV kept real life audiences interested as well. Turman starred in The Inkwell, The Visit, Takers, The Wire, Southland and House of Lies. (Photo: Jennifer Lourie/Getty Images)


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Jada Pinkett Smith starred as Lena James - As Lena James, Smith represented Hillman’s new class of students. The actress moved on to star in a bunch of popular films including Set It Off, The Matrix Reloaded, Collateral, the Madagascar films plus the TV series Hawthorne. The author, philanthropist, Broadway and film producer is wife to Will Smith and mom to teen stars Jaden and Willow Smith.(Photo: Gabriel Olsen/WireImage)