A Different World
“The kitchen may not get cleaned and I have to accept that. I do the important things.” Jasmine Guy
A sitcom star during the late 1980s and early 1990s who began her career as a concert dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Jasmine Guy reached TV stardom with her role as Southern girl Whitley Gilbert on “A Different World” (1987-1993), the spin-off from NBC's popular sitcom “The Cosby Show.” Delivering a great performance, she picked up six consecutive NAACP Image Awards. After “A Different World,” Guy made a number of guest appearances, most notably as Caitlin Mills on Fox's “Melrose Place” (1995, earned an Image nomination), Kathleen in “Touched by an Angel” (1995-1997) and Allegra on “Ladies' Man” (1999). More recently, she returned to series TV as Roxy in the short-lived sitcom “Dead Like Me” (2003-2004), from which she netted an Image nomination. She also has starred in several TV films like A Killer Among Us (1990), Stompin' At the Savoy (1992) and Anne Rice's The Feast of All Saints (2001). Guy has also collected several big screen credits, including School Daze (1988), Harlem Nights (1989), Diamond Men (2000) and Dying on the Edge (2001).
The multi-talented performer released a self-titled debut album in 1990, which spawned the popular singles “Try Me” (1990), “Another Like My Lover” (1991) and “Just Want To Hold You” (1991). She also received a degree of prominence on the stage with performances in Broadway productions of “Grease” and “Chicago.” Guy wrote “Evolution of a Revolutionary; Conversations with Afeni Shakur,” the biography of Afeni Shakur, who is the mother of late actor/hip-hop MC Tupac Shakur. She was good friends with Shakur.
Guy is married to Terrence Duckett and has a daughter with him.
Childhood and Family:
Jasmine Guy was born on March 10, 1964, in Boston, Massachusetts, to an African-American father and a European/South American mother. Her father is the Reverend William Guy, a former minister of the historic Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA., and her mother is Jaye Rudolph. She was educated at the former Northside High School in Atlanta, and later at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York City. Jasmine has a sister named Monica Guy, who frequently served as her stand-in on the set of “A Different World.”
On August 22, 1988, Jasmine married Terrence Duckett. They welcomed a baby girl named Imani on March 28, 1999.
Dead Like Me
Boston-born, Atlanta-raised Jasmine Guy headed to New York City as a teenager to study dance with Alvin Ailey and finally performed with his company. Her background led to a part as a dancer in the pilot and first 10 episodes of the TV series “Fame” (1982), opposite Debbie Allen, and supporting gigs in the Broadway revival and the road company of “The Wiz” (1984). She also worked in the short-lived Broadway musical “Leader of the Pack” (1985). In 1987, she made her miniseries debut as a bank teller in CBS' “At Mother's Request.”
It was also in 1987 that Guy got her breakthrough TV role when she was cast as big-headed Southern belle Whitley Gilbert in “The Cosby Show” spin-off “A Different World” (1987-1993). The sitcom was speculated to be Lisa Bonet’s vehicle, but when the show clambered in its first season, Bonet was taken out of the cast and slender Guy was given top billing and became the center of the show. The effort paid off when the series became one of the greatest shows that took place in a college and Guy herself won six consecutive NAACP Image awards in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. She also directed an episode and wrote a few episodes of “A Different World.”
The following year saw Guy debut on the big screen with in a bit part as Dina in the Spike Lee directed comedy School Daze (1988), which starred Laurence Fishburne and Giancarlo Esposito. She then had a lead role, opposite Eddie Murphy, in Harlem Nights (1989). The same year, she teamed up with Charles S. Dutton for the dramatic made-for-TV film Runaway.
At the height of her success playing Whitley, Guy recorded an album in 1990 titled Jasmine Guy. The album spawned the charted R&B singles “Try Me” (1990), “Another Like My Lover” (1991) and “Just Want To Hold You” (1991, with James Ingram). Before long, she landed her first starring role in a television film with the NBC courtroom drama A Killer Among Us (1990), playing one of the 12 jurors. Next, she costarred opposite Lynn Whitfield and Vanessa Williams in the CBS film Stompin' At the Savoy (1992, directed by Debbie Allen), starred as Lena in Kevin Rodney Sullivan's Boy Meets Girl (1993) and starred as a slave named Easter in the miniseries “Queen” (1993).
After the demise of “A Different World,” Guy joined the cast of Fox’s soap “Melrose Place” in 1995 in the recurring role of Caitlin Mills and nabbed a 1996 Image nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She also starred in the independent film Kla$h that same year. A string of guest spots followed, including one in “NYPD Blue” (1995), “The Outer Limit” (1996), “Touched by an Angel” (3 episodes, 1995-1997) and “Malcolm & Eddie” (1997), before she returned to series TV with a recurring role as the lead character's boss in the short-lived CBS sitcom “Ladies' Man” (1999). In the late 1990s, she also made some films, such as Sarah Polley's Guinevere and Lillie, opposite Loretta Devine and Salli Richardson, and achieved a revived career on stage with performances on Broadway and the touring production of “Grease,” as well as the national tour of Kander and Ebb's “Chicago,” starring as Velma Kelly, a role she reprised for a successful run on Broadway in 2000.
Next, Guy could be seen acting in the movies The Law of Enclosures (2000), Diamond Men (2000), Dying on the Edge (2001), Anne Rice's The Feast of All Saints (2001, TV) and Carrie (2002, TV). From 2003-2004, she played the supporting role of Roxy Harvey in the comedy series “Dead Like Me” and was nominated for a 2005 Image for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her acting. Her more recent work includes participating in a biography project directed and written by Debbie Allen titled I Was a Network Star (2006, TV).
Image: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, “A Different World,” 1995
Image: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, “A Different World,” 1994
Image: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, “A Different World,” 1993
Image: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, “A Different World,” 1992
Image: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, “A Different World,” 1991
Image: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, “A Different World,” 1990