Half & Half
"I've found that acting suits me better the older I get. The lifestyle is more normal than being on the road (a common situation for musicians). I like going home every day. I need that stability." Telma Hopkins
Starting out as a member of the popular 1970s singing trio Tony Orlando and Dawn, whose signature hits were "Candida," "Knock Three Times," "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Ole Oak Tree," and "He Don't Love You (Like I Love You)," Telma Hopkins later ventured into acting and co-starred with Janet Jackson and Rob Lowe in the ABC short-lived Emmy nominated sitcom "A New Kind of Family" (1979-1980), and Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari in the ABC sitcom "Bosom Buddies" (1980-1982).
However, it was her role of Rachel Crawford (1989-1997) on the family sitcom "Family Matters" and her portrayal of Phyllis Thorne in the UPN sitcom "Half & Half" (2002-2006) that boosted her acting career. The actress also appeared in a number of television movies and guest starred in such shows as "Fantasy Island," "The Love Boat," "Gimme a Break," "Women of the House," "The Nanny," "ER," "Suddenly Susan," and "Any Day Now."
On the big screen, Hopkins could be seen in "Trancers" (1985), “Trancers II” (1991) and “Trancers III” (1992), "The Wood" (1999) and "The Love Guru" (2008), alongside Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, and Justin Timberlake.
Childhood and Family:
In Louisville, Kentucky, Telma Hopkins was born on October 28, 1948. She is divorced from Donald B. Allen, with whom she has one son. She currently lives in Los Angeles and is engaged to actor Rif Hutton.
"I want to do everything under the rainbow, from singing and acting, to comedy and drama." Telma Hopkins
Telma Hopkins began her career as a backup singer for such superstars as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Wilson Pickett, Issac Hayes, Dionne Warwick, and the Four Tops. She achieved more success as a singer in the 1970s when she became a member of the singing trio Tony Orlando and Dawn, who enjoyed such hits as "Knock Three Times," "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree," "Say Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose" and "He Don't Love You (Like I Love You).” She also sang background vocals on Johnnie Taylor's 1976 chart-topping single "Disco Lady" and was one of the backup singers in the soul and funk styled theme song for the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film "Shaft," in which she famously interrupted the implied profanity with the line "Shut your mouth!"
Hopkins later recalled, "It was one of the coolest singing jobs ever. I sang it with two other girls but somehow or another I get all the credit."
Hopkins subsequently ventured to acting and made her debut in the Golden Globe nominated miniseries "Roots: The Next Generations" (1979) and followed it up with a co-starring role in the ABC short-lived Emmy nominated sitcom "A New Kind of Family" (1979-1980), alongside Janet Jackson and Rob Lowe. She then appeared in multiple episodes of ABC sitcom "The Love Boat" during 1979-1985 and co-starred in the sitcom starring Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari, "Bosom Buddies," which ran from 1980 to 1982 on ABC and in reruns in the summer of 1984 on NBC.
Hopkins co-starred with Gary Coleman in the made-for-television movie "The Kid with the Broken Halo" (1982), appeared in two episodes of "The New Odd Couple," ABC's short-lived version of the 1970-1975 television series "The Odd Couple," and NBC’s sitcom starring stage actress Nell Carter, "Gimme a Break!" She was also spotted as a guest in a May 1984 episode of the ABC long-running fantasy series starring Ricardo Montalban, "Fantasy Island," and appeared in the CBS annual television special "Circus of the Stars" and the ABC, CBS, and NBC special "Battle of the Network Stars." During the rest of the 1980s, Hopkins co-starred with Dyan Cannon and Michael Brandon in the musical TV movie "Rock 'n' Roll Mom" (1988) and guest starred in an episode of the NBC sitcom starring Sherman Hemsley, "Amen." She also made her feature film debut in "Trancers" (1988), a futuristic action movie directed by Charles Band starring Tim Thomerson and Helen Hunt. She would later returned in its sequels, "Trancers II" (1991) and "Trancers III" (1992; V).
"All of us in 'Family Matters' really work hard to make it a family show that really is about a family. There's something for everyone because we have three generations under one roof and we stick together." Telma Hopkins
1989 was a breakout year for Hopkins' acting career when she landed the role of Rachel Crawford in the ABC/CBS family sitcom "Family Matters." She stayed on the show from its first season in 1989 to the end of its fourth season in 1993 and made sporadic appearances in seasons 8 and 9 (1996 and 1997). On her "Family Matters" character Rachel, Hopkins said, "She's a single parent like me. She's very earthy; very worldly. I love kids and Rachel has a lot of kid in her, and more than a little bit of comedienne."
During her "Family Matters" tenure, Hopkins also played Rachel in the sitcom "ABC TGIF" (1990) and co-starred with Cindy Williams in the ABC short-lived sitcom "Getting By" (1993-1994). She also guest-starred in an episode of CBS/Lifetime’s spin-off of "Designing Women" starring Delta Burke, "Women of the House," Fox Kids' animated series featuring the Marvel Comics superhero, "Spider-Man," CBS’ sitcom starring Fran Drescher, "The Nanny," NBC’s hit medical drama "ER," and Kids' WB animated series "Batman Beyond." She then co-starred in the made-for-television movies "How to Murder a Millionaire" (1990; with David Eigenberg and Morgan Fairchild) and "Count on Me" (1994; with Wren T. Brown, Michael DeLorenzo, and Jane Seymour). On the big screen, she could be seen alongside Adrian Pasdar and Diane Lane in Marisa Silver's dramatic thriller "Vital Signs" (1990) and with Taye Diggs, Omar Epps, and Richard T. Jones in Rick Famuyiwa's feature "The Wood" (1999).
Hopkins played recurring guest roles of Paulette Williams (1999-2001) in the ABC/UPN sitcom starring D.L. Hughley and Elise Neal, "The Hughleys," and Judge Wilma Evers (2000-2001) in the hit Lifetime TV series starring Annie Potts and Lorraine Toussaint, "Any Day Now." From 2002 to 2006, she co-starred with Rachel True and Essence Atkins in the UPN sitcom about the lives of fictional half-sisters in San Francisco, "Half & Half." Portraying Phyllis Thorne, the mother to Rachel True's Mona, Hopkins won a BET Comedy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2005. She was also nominated for the Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series four times, in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007, and appeared as a guest in an episode of USA Network's fantasy-based television action series "Good vs Evil,” the Kids' WB animated series "Static Shock," the NBC sitcom starring Brooke Shields, "Suddenly Susan," NBC/The WB’s sitcom "For Your Love," and USA Network's comedy starring James Roday, Dulé Hill, and Corbin Bernsen, "Psych." She also co-starred with Gilbert Glenn Brown and Shonnese C.L. Coleman in Monice Mitchell's short romantic movie "Rain" (2001).
Recently, Hopkins was seen alongside Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, and Justin Timberlake in the Marco Schnabel directed romantic comedy film, "The Love Guru" (2008).
As a humanitarian, Hopkins has supported many charity organizations. She was the spokesperson for both the National P.T.A. and Act On Arthritis, and has worked on behalf of McClaren Hall, Rainbow Camp, Hollygrove Group Home and Caring for Babies with AIDS.
BET Comedy: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, "Half & Half," 2005