The Steve Harvey Show
Television and film actress Terri J. Vaughn is most famous for portraying the supporting role of high school secretary Lovita Alizay Jenkins Robinson on the WB sitcom “The Steve Harvey Show” from 1997 to 2002. She took home three Image Awards for her performance. Vaughn also played first grade teacher Jonelle Abrahams on the UPN/CW sitcom “All of Us” (2003-2005), from which she earned a BET Comedy nomination, and big mouthed hospital employee Renee LaToya Smith on the TBS sitcom “Meet the Browns” (2009-2010). Her film credits include “Friday” (1995), “Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood” (1996), “Fair Game” (2005), “Daddy's Little Girls” (2007) and “Three Can Play That Game” (2007).
Vaughn is the founder of the nonprofit Take Wings Foundation, which inspires kids to be positive, productive and successful. On a more personal note, Vaughn has been married twice. She has two sons, Daylen Ali Carolina (father: first husband Derrick A. Carolina) and Kal'El Joseph Riley (father: second husband Karon Riley).
Childhood and Family:
Terri Juanita Vaughn was born on October 16, 1969, in San Francisco, California, to a secretary and department store employee. She was involved in modeling, singing in the church and working at McDonald's while maintaining good grades at school. In order to buy a car and attend college, Terri later worked as a post office employee and an operator. During her senior year at California State University, at a friend's request, Terri entered the Miss Black California Pageant contest. She ended up gaining a spot in the Los Angeles finals. In addition, she was asked by one of the jury members to appear in a play he was producing. It was not long before she realized that acting was her true calling.
On January 1, 1999, Terri married composer Derrick A. Carolina and had a son, Daylen Ali Carolina, in October 2001. The marriage, however, ended in divorce in 2005. On January 19, 2008, Terri married a football player named Karon Riley. She gave birth to her second child, son Kal'El Joseph Riley, on April 24, 2008, in Los Angeles.
All of Us
After her successful participation in the Miss Black California Pageant, Terri J. Vaughn made her professional acting debut in a twenty city tour of “Tellin' It Like It Tiz.” Her first television gig came in 1993 when she had a bit part in an episode of the popular Fox sitcom “Living Single” called “Great Expectations.” She followed it up a month later with another small spot in the short lived sitcom “The Sinbad Show.” Vaughn also had her first taste in front of the film cameras in 1993 when she had an unaccredited role in the movie “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit,” the sequel to the successful 1992 film “Sister Act.”
Vaughn guest starred in episodes of “Married with Children” (1994), “Family Matters” (1995) and “Sherman Oaks” (1995) before making her television film debut with Showtime's “Black Scorpion” (1995), which starred Joan Severance. In the film, she portrayed Tender Lovin', a role she reprised in the 1997 sequel “Black Scorpion II: Aftershock.” Also in 1995, Vaughn was cast as China, the friend of Regina King's character, on the hit comedy “Friday,” starring Ice Cube, and was reunited with “Black Scorpion” director Jonathan Winfrey for the film “Excessive Force II: Force on Force.”
In 1996, Vaughn received some popularity on the film “Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood,” which was directed by Paris Barclay and co-written by and starred Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans. “Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood” opened at No.2 at the American box office and eventually grossed over $39.2 million domestically. The same year, she also played the supporting role of B.T. Coolidge in the Roger Corman produced “Carnosaur 3: Primal Species,” starring Scott Valentine and Janet Gunn.
In 1997, Vaughn landed an unaccredited part in “8 Heads in a Duffel Bag” (1997), a comedy starring Joe Pesci and David Spade. The film, which marked the directorial debut of screenwriter Tom Schulman, was a box office dud. Vaughn got her big break later that same year when she won the role of high school secretary Lovita Jenkins on the second season of The WB's sitcom “The Steve Harvey Show.” She remained with the show until its last season in 2002. For her good acting, Vaughn received three consecutive Image Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (2001, 2002 and 2003).
While working on “The Steve Harvey Show,” Vaughn offered a memorable performance as Mrs. Gleason, a single parent wrongly accused of abusing her child, on the 1999 episode “Point of Origin” of “ER.” The following year, she appeared with David Batiste, Cedric the Entertainer and Sanaa Lathan in the short film “The Smoker,” by Tendaji Lathan. After the show came to an end in February 2002, the actress had the recurring role of Eva Holly in the Showtime dramatic series “Soul Food” (2002-2003), a role that brought her a 2004 Image nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She also guest starred in “Girlfriends” (2003, as Tasha) and played Sharona Brown in the thriller “Detonator” (2003), before returning to series television as a regular on the UPN/CW sitcom “All of Us,” which was created by Jada Pinkett Smith. Playing Tia Jewel's best friend and fellow teacher Jonelle Abrahams during 2003 to 2005, she was nominated for a BET Comedy Award in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
Vaughn next played the role of Wanda in “Fair Game” (2005), a romantic comedy written and directed by Michael Whale, appeared in the short film “Exposure” (2005) and was featured with Jeff Bridges, Missy Peregrym and Vanessa Lengies in the Jessica Bendinger helmed “Stick It” (2006). She also costarred as Jackie in the dramatic film “Dirty Laundry” (2006), which was written, directed by, and starred Maurice Jamal, portrayed Gabrielle Union's friend, Brenda, on Tyler Perry's “Daddy's Little Girls” (2007) and worked with Kenny Young, Jill Marie Jones and Reginald Ballard in the comedy “Redrum” (2007), which was directed and co-written by Young. She then teamed up with Jason George, Jazsmin Lewis, Kellita Smith, Tony Rock and Vivica A. Fox in the romantic comedy “Three Can Play That Game” (2007), an installment to the 2001 “Two Can Play That Game.”
In 2009, Vaughn joined the cast of the TBS sitcom “Meet the Browns” as Renee LaToya Smith. She was on the series until 2010. Also in 2010, Vaughn portrayed Janet in the short film “This Time” and was cast as Sheila Edwards in “Love Me or Leave Me,” starring Chris Bolton, Terrell Carter and Candace Evanofski.
Image: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, “The Steve Harvey Show,” 2003
Image: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, “The Steve Harvey Show,” 2002
Image: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, “The Steve Harvey Show,” 2001