“I auditioned for (Angel Heart) because I loved Alan Parker’s films, Bugsy Malone was my favorite as a kid, as were Birdy and Shoot the Moon- all those films really influenced my artistic wonderment. But I just did my bits and went home. There was no deep Method-acting trip going on.” Lisa Bonet on Angel Heart
African-American TV and movie actress Lisa Bonet, born Lisa Michelle Boney later legally changed her name to Lilakoi Moon, is best-known by TV audiences for her role as the eldest daughter Denise Huxtable Kendall in the NBC highly successful sitcom “The Cosby Show” (1984-91), where she was garnered with a Young Artist Award and an Emmy nomination. The sexy actress gained even more attention for her burning performance as the voodoo princess Epiphany Proudfoot in the controversial Angel Heart (1987) for director Alan Parker. The role brought Lisa another Young Artist Award. In addition to her flourishing performances in “The Cosby Show” and Angel Heart, she is also known for playing roles in such silver screen films as Enemy of the State (1998, with Will Smith), High Fidelity (2000, opposite John Cusack) and Biker Boyz (2003, with Laurence Fishburne). Her most resent film appearance is the drama film Whitepaddy (2006).
As for her love life, Lisa was married to musician Lenny Kravitz from 1987-1993 and has a daughter with him. In 1992, a year after the couple became estranged, she began dating yoga instructor Bryan Kest and later lived together. Lisa and Bryan welcomed their son in the mid-90s. Lisa currently resides in Los Angeles, where she raises her children.
Childhood and Family:
Daughter of a Jewish Caucasian mother, Arlene Bonet (died in 1999 from ovarian cancer), and her black-Cheroke husband, Allen Boney (music teacher), Lisa Michelle Boney, who is well-known as Lisa Bonet, was born on November 16, 1967. Lisa’s parents got divorce a year after her born, and her father later remarried. A native of San Francisco, California, she has spent much of her life in New York and Los Angeles, where she was educated in Reseda High School and Celluloid Actor’s Studio.
In November 1987, Lisa married Lenny Kravitz, who was a struggling and unknown performer under the name of Romeo Blue. The couple met in 1986 in a New Edition concert in Los Angeles and soon went to Las Vegas and escaped. Lisa and Lenny welcomed their child, daughter Zoe Isabella Kravitz, on December 1, 1988, but the two became estranged in 1991. A rocky relationship from the start (reportedly due to Lenny’s unfaithfulness), the marriage finally ended in divorce on April 13, 1993. Lisa, who had her name legally changed to Lilakoi Moon in 1995 though she remains uses the name Lisa Bonet for her showbiz career, also shares a son who was born in the mid-90s, with lover Brian Kest.
Lisa Bonet started acting on commercials when she was 11 before attending her drama course two years later. She made her first TV appearance at age 16 with a guest spot as Carla in an episode of “St. Elsewhere” and was soon cast with a recurring part in the CBS sitcom “The Two of Us.”
Lisa’s big breakthrough arrived in 1984, when she landed her first regular role, as Denise Huxtable Kendall, the eldest child on the NBC enormously popular family sitcom “The Cosby Show.” Her promising performance won notice and she was handed an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 1986. With a newfound fame, Lisa jumped to the big screen film in the next year with the Alan Parker-helmed Angel Heart, opposite Mickey Rourke and Robert De Niro. As the voodoo princess Epiphany Proudfoot, the growing actress made purposeful efforts to drop her “Girl next door” image by exposing her sex appeals in a burning love scenes with Rourke that some of which eventually ended in the cutting floor. Despite the controversy, Lisa’s performance was praised, and she won a 1988 Young Artist for Best Young Female Superstar in Motion Pictures. During the same periods, she further established her sexy image by posing nude for Rolling Stone Magazine.
As a result of her hot appearances, Lisa was fired by the producers of “The Cosby Show,” but, with the help of Bill Cosby, she reprised her Denise Huxtable role for the spin off “A Different World,” with which she stayed for a year (1987-88) before finally returning to “The Cosby Show.” A year after her comeback, she scored a success by netting a Young Artist for Best Young Actor/Actress Ensemble in a Television Comedy, Drama Series or Special. Unfortunately, after giving birth to her first child, Lisa’s inconsistent professional behavior began to get worse. Frequently coming late for tapping of her sitcom, she was completely written out of the cast in 1991.
Following her flourishing stints in “The Cosby Show” and her separation from Lenny, Lisa wilted from the high-status stardom and began to make B-movies and TV movies. She was cast as the girlfriend of Patrick Dempsey in the small-budget Bank Robber (1993), appeared as Catherine Briggs in the direct-to-video release Dead Connection (1994) and starred with Stephen Baldwin as a single parent living on deserted planet in the made-for-TV-film New Eden (1994) before disappearing from the scene for several years.
The beautiful actress made her way back to the wide screen movie in 1998 with a supporting role as Rachel F. Banks in the Will Smith vehicle Enemy of the State, directed by Tony Scott. Two years later, she resurfaced as one of the ex-love interests of John Cusack Marie DeSalle in the Stephen Frears-helmed High Fidelity. No longer an in-demand actress, Lisa found herself staring with James Caan and Lukas Haas in the TV movie Lathe of Heaven in 2002, and in the much anticipated action film Biker Boyz (2003), she shared the screen with Laurence Fishburne, Derek Luke and Orlando Jones. After another hiatus, she recently undertook the starring role of Mae Evans in writer/director Geretta Geretta’s Whitepaddy (2006). The drama film also starred Sherilyn Fenn, Karen Black and Hill Harper.
Aside from acting, the daughter of a music teacher Lisa also developed a passion for music and directing. While in relationship with Lenny, she co-wrote a couple of songs on his debut album, “Let Love Rule,” and even helmed the music video of the title song. In 1991, she again sat on the director’s chair for Gardner Cole’s video “Whatever It Takes.” Lisa also added a five-minute short Gentleman Who Fell (1993) to her directing resume.
- Young Artist: Best Young Actor/Actress Ensemble in a Television Comedy, Drama Series or Special, The Cosby Show, 1989
- Young Artist: Best Young Female Superstar in Motion Pictures, Angel Heart, 1988