Jasmine Guy

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Jasmine Guy
Jasmine Guy.jpg
Guy in 2010
Born (1962-03-10) March 10, 1962 (age 59)[1]
  • Actress
  • singer
  • dancer
  • director
Years active1982–present
Known forWhitley Marion Gilbert-WayneA Different World
Roxy Harvey – Dead Like Me
Kayla Samuels – Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Terrence Duckett
(m. 1998; div. 2008)
AwardsNAACP Image Award – (1990, 1991, 1992, 1993) Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (A Different World)
Musical career
LabelsWarner Bros.
Associated acts

Jasmine Guy (born March 10, 1962)[2][3] is an American actress, director, singer and dancer. Guy is known for her role as Dina in the 1988 film School Daze and as Whitley Gilbert-Wayne on the NBC The Cosby Show spin-off A Different World, which originally ran from 1987 to 1993. Guy won six consecutive NAACP Image Awards from 1990 through 1995 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role on the show. She is also known as Roxy Harvey on Dead Like Me and as Sheila "Grams" Bennet on The Vampire Diaries . Jasmine also played a small role of Richard Webber’s friend on “Greys Anatomy”.

Early life[edit]

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, to an African-American father and Portuguese-American mother,[4] Guy was raised in the affluent historic Collier Heights neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia, where she attended what was then called the Northside Performing Arts High School, later renamed North Atlanta High School. Her mother, the former Jaye Rudolph (born 1937), was a former high-school teacher, and her father, the Reverend William Vincent Guy (born 1937), was pastor of the historic Friendship Baptist Church of Atlanta, which served as an early home to Spelman College; he was also a college instructor in philosophy and religion.[5] At the age of 17, she moved to New York City to study dance at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center.[6]

Acting career[edit]

Television roles[edit]

Guy began her television career with a non-speaking role, as a dancer, in seven episodes of the 1982 television series Fame under the direction of choreographer Debbie Allen.[7]

Guy today remains best known for her starring role as Whitley Gilbert in the television sitcom A Different World.[8] A spin-off of The Cosby Show and created by Bill Cosby himself, the show aired from 1987 to 1993 on NBC. Guy wrote three episodes of the show and directed one, in addition to appearing in every episode: she started as a co-star, but ended up replacing the show's original star Lisa Bonet, who left the series.[9] Guy was nominated for and won six consecutive NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

In addition to her defining role on A Different World, she appeared in a 1991 episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as Kayla, one of Will Smith's girlfriends. In 1992, Guy appeared in CBS's Stompin' at the Savoy alongside Vanessa Williams, again under the direction of Debbie Allen,[10] and in 1993, she played the mother of Halle Berry's character in the CBS TV mini-series Queen. This was based on Alex Haley's book Queen: The Story of an American Family, a companion volume to his earlier Roots: The Saga of an American Family, which itself had been converted to a television mini-series. In 1995, Guy appeared as Peter Burns' love interest, Caitlin Mills, on two episodes of Melrose Place, and in 1996, she appeared on Living Single, playing a psychologist treating main character Khadijah for anxiety. She also played the recurring role of Kathleen, a fallen angel, in the CBS Network drama Touched by an Angel from 1995 to 1997. In 2002, Guy lent her voice to the PBS math-based animated series Cyberchase, playing Ava, the queen of the cybersite Symmetria, and made a cameo appearance on the Moesha spin-off The Parkers. In 2003, Guy played Mary Estes Peters in the HBO documentary, Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narrative, a documentary which premiered during Black History Month. The slave narratives were based on the WPA slave interviews conducted during the 1930s with over 2,000 former slaves.

Guy starred alongside Ellen Muth and Mandy Patinkin in the series Dead Like Me, created by Bryan Fuller. The show ran 29 episodes over two seasons, in 2003 and 2004, on Showtime. Guy played Roxy Harvey, a meter maid turned police officer and one of the core group of grim reapers around which the series was based. Guy was nominated for the 2005 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for the role. She later starred in the feature-length series sequel Dead Like Me: Life After Death, which was released on video in 2009 before being shown on the Syfy channel. In 2009, Guy performed in The People Speak, a documentary that used dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.[11] A broad look at civil rights issues in America, The People Speak was executive produced by and seen on The History Channel.[12] In 2010, she was seen in the second season of the Lifetime comedy series Drop Dead Diva as a judge in the episode titled "Last Year's Model,"[13] and from 2009 to 2017, Guy had a recurring role in The CW's series The Vampire Diaries. In that program, Guy played Sheila "Grams" Bennett, the grandmother of Bonnie (Katerina Graham), who proved to be a descendant of Salem Witches.[14] Both shows were filmed in the Atlanta area. In late 2017, she appeared in the Lifetime Christmas movie Secret Santa.

Film roles[edit]

Guy made her film debut in 1988 in Spike Lee's musical-drama film School Daze. She played the role of Dina, a member of the light-skinned, straight-haired African American women of Gamma Ray, a women's auxiliary to the Gamma Phi Gamma fraternity.[6] Filming on School Daze was completed before she joined the cast of A Different World. During the following year, she appeared as Dominique La Rue in Harlem Nights starring Eddie Murphy (who also directed), Richard Pryor, and Redd Foxx. In 1997, she provided the voice of Sawyer in the Warner Bros. animated film Cats Don't Dance. In 2011, she appeared in the film October Baby. In 2015, she appeared in the film Big Stone Gap with Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson, Jenna Elfman, Anthony LaPaglia, Jane Krakowski, and Whoopi Goldberg. She starred in the short film My Nephew Emmett, which won the Student Academy Award and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 2018.[15]


In 1987, Guy had a starring role in the off-Broadway hit musical Beehive, before traveling to France to appear in a similar musical review.[7] Guy has performed in several Broadway productions and national tours, including as Crow in The Wiz, Mickey in Leader of the Pack, Betty Rizzo in Grease, and as Velma Kelly in Chicago. On April 6, 2009, Playbill reported on Guy's return to the stage, starring in the True Colors Theatre Company production of Pearl Cleage's Blues for an Alabama Sky. Directed by Andrea Frye, the show was a last minute addition to the company's season and opened May 4 in Atlanta.[16] Blues came on the heels of Guy's held-over run in True Colors' Miss Evers' Boys, which co-starred TC Carson of Living Single.[17]

Guy directed the world premiere of I Dream in July 2010 on the Alliance Stage of the Woodruff Arts Centre in Atlanta. Also in 2010, Guy was a member of the cast of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Alliance Theatre Company co-production of Pearl Cleage's The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Presence at a Celebration of Their First One-Hundred Years. The production ran September 24 through October 3 at the Festival in Montgomery, Alabama, before moving to Atlanta's Alliance Theatre for performances October 20 through November 14. In early 2011, Guy directed George C. Wolfe's The Colored Museum for True Colors,[18] and in June 2011, Guy costarred with Kenny Leon in their production of Sam Shepard's play Fool For Love at The Balzer Theater at Herren's in Atlanta, Georgia.[19] In August 2010, Guy had joined the True Colors Theatre Company in an off stage role as the company's Producing Director. In announcing the hire, True Colors said Guy's full-time position would be both administrative and artistic, and both local and national. Guy continues to contribute to the company on stage as well.[18]


During the run of A Different World, Guy released her self-titled debut album in 1990. The album peaked at #143 on the US Top 200 Album Chart and spawned three hit singles: "Try Me" (US R&B #14); "Another Like My Lover" (US #66, US R&B #9); and "Just Want to Hold You" (US #34, US R&B #27), with the last single cracking the main US Top 40 singles chart.

Personal life[edit]

Guy married Terrence Duckett in August 1998, and the couple had one child, a daughter named Imani, born in 1999. On April 8, 2008, People reported that Guy and Duckett were divorcing after ten years of marriage due to irreconcilable differences. Guy and her daughter subsequently took up residence in Guy's childhood hometown of Atlanta.[9]

Guy endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for President in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.[20]


Film roles
Year Title Role Notes
1988 School Daze Dina
1989 Harlem Nights Dominique La Rue
1995 Klash Blossom
1997 Cats Don't Dance Sawyer Voice role
1998 Madeline
1999 Guinevere Linda
1999 Lillie Sylvia
2000 The Law Of Enclosures
2000 Diamond Men Tina
2001 Dying on the Edge Micki
2006 The Heart Specialist
2008 Tru Loved Cynthia
2009 Dead Like Me: Life After Death Roxy Harvey Direct to video & on Syfy as full feature-length film
2010 Stomp the Yard: Homecoming Janice Direct to video
2011 Blossoms for Clara Clara Dukes Short
2011 October Baby Nurse Mary
2012 What About Us? Arlene Gomes Short
2013 Scary Movie 5 Mrs. Brooks
2014 Big Stone Gap Leah Grimes
2014 My Other Mother Evelyn
Television roles
Year Title Role Notes
1982 Fame Dancer 7 episodes
1986 The Equalizer Gloria Episode: "Out of the Past"
1987 At Mother's Request Bank Teller TV movie
1987–1993 A Different World Whitley Gilbert-Wayne Main role, 144 episodes
1989 Runaway Charlene "Charlie" TV movie
1990 A Killer Among Us Theresa Hopkins TV movie
1991 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Kayla Samuels Episode: "Love at First Fight"
1992 Stompin' at the Savoy Alice TV movie
1993 Boy Meets Girl Lena TV movie
1993 Alex Haley's Queen Easter Miniseries
1995 Going, Going, Almost Gone! Animals in Danger TV movie; voice role
1995-2000 Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child Frog Princess Lylah/JoNae Voice roles; 2 episodes
1996 America's Dream Elna Du Vaul TV movie; segment: "The Boy Who Painted Christ Black"
1997 Perfect Crime Capt. Darnell Russell TV movie
1995 Melrose Place Caitlin Mills 2 episodes
1995 NYPD Blue LaVonna Runnels Episode: "Heavin' Can Wait"
1995-1997 Touched by an Angel Kathleen 3 episodes
1996 Living Single Dr. Jessica Bryce Episode: "Shrink to Fit"
1996 The Outer Limits Captain Teri Washington Episode: "The Heist"
1996 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Angela Winters Episodes: "The People vs. Lois Lane" "Dead Lois Walking"
1997 Malcolm & Eddie Paige Episode: "Two Men and a Baby"
1999 Partners Amanda Episode: "A Beautiful Day"
1999 Any Day Now Aunt Kiki Episode: "Blue"
1999 Ladies Man Allegra 3 episodes
2000 Linc's Courtney Goode Episode: "The Music in Me"
2001 Feast of All Saints Juliet Mercier TV movie
2002, 2003 Cyberchase Ava, Queen of Symmetria/Ms. Fileshare 2 episodes
2002 The Parkers Delilah Episode: "Lights, Camera, Action"
2003–2004 Dead Like Me Roxy Harvey Main role, 29 episodes
2006 That's So Raven Pistáche Episode: "Checkin' Out"
2009 My Parents, My Sister & Me Keela Goldman Episode: "Starting Over"
2009−2014, 2017 The Vampire Diaries Sheila Bennett Recurring role, 15 episodes
2010 Drop Dead Diva Judge Nona Daniels Episode: "Last Year's Model"
2012 Kasha and the Zulu King Ngazi TV movie
2014 Tyler Perry's If Loving You Is Wrong Mattaline Episode: "Game Night"
2016−2017 K.C. Undercover Erica Recurring role, 6 episodes
2017 Superstition Aunt Nancy 3 episodes
2017 The Quad Ella Grace Caldwell 3 episodes
2019 Grey's Anatomy Gemma Larson Recurring role, 5 episodes
2020 Open Betty TV movie





  1. ^ Bogdanov, Vladimir (1998). All Music Guide to Soul: The Definitive Guide to R&B and Soul. ISBN 9780879307448. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  2. ^ Intelius People Search
  3. ^ Leszczak, Bob (2001). From Small Screen to Vinyl: A Guide to Television Stars Who Made Records. ISBN 9781442242746. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  4. ^ Thompson, Kevin D. (July 30, 2008). "Jasmine Guy: Flashback Friday - The star of "A Different World" on being Whitley, her impending divorce, and growing up biracial". Essence. New York City: Essence Communications.
  5. ^ http://www.filmreference.com/film/76/Jasmine-Guy.html
  6. ^ a b Bernstein, Fred (November 9, 1987). "After Years of Trying to Fit In, Actress Jasmine Guy at Last Finds Happiness in A Different World". People. Vol. 28\number=19. New York City: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Buck, Jerry (January 17, 1988). "Jasmine Guy Brings Life ro 'World'". Tri-City Herald. Kennewick, Washington: McClatchy Company. p. 39. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  8. ^ Cadet, Danielle (September 21, 2017). "Whitley's World: A Brief History of Bad and Boujee Black Girl Style". The Undefeated. ESPN. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
  9. ^ a b Holman, Curt (2010-01-28). "Speakeasy with Jasmine Guy". Creative Loafing Atlanta. CL Inc. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
  10. ^ "Dreams Of Long Ago". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois: Tribune Media Services. April 12, 1992. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 13, 2010. Retrieved July 28, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ Kinon, Cristina (July 30, 2009). "'The People Speak' about democracy on History Channel". Daily News. New York City: Tronc. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  13. ^ DiNunno, Gina (May 26, 2010). "Drop Dead Diva Casts Jasmine Guy and Lauren Stamile". TV Guide. New York City: NTVB Media.
  14. ^ Keck, William (September 15, 2009). "Jasmine Guy Vamps It Up". TV Guide Magazine. New York City: NTVB Media. Archived from the original on September 23, 2009. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
  15. ^ "Kevin Wilson's MY NEPHEW EMMETT Joins Academy's Live Action Short Film Shortlist". Broadway World. December 15, 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  16. ^ Hetrick, Adam (April 6, 2009). "Jasmine Guy to Sing Blues for an Alabama Sky at True Colors". Playbill. London, England. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  17. ^ Duke, Alan (March 12, 2009). "Jasmine Guy finds joy in 'Miss Evers' Boys'". CNN. Atlanta, Georgia: Turner Broadcasting Systems. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  18. ^ a b Curt, Holman (August 16, 2010). "True Colors Theatre hires Jasmine Guy as full-time staffer". Creative Loafing. Creative Loafing Inc. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  19. ^ Creative Loafing Event Calendar
  20. ^ https://www.gettyimages.ie/detail/news-photo/jasmine-guy-speaks-in-support-of-bernie-sanders-during-the-news-photo/510809998

External links[edit]