Karyn Parsons

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Karyn Parsons
Karyn Parsons 2021 (51651243095) (cropped).jpg
Parsons in 2021
  • Actress
  • author
  • comedian
Years active1987–2002
(m. 1987; div. 1990)

(m. 2003)

Karyn Parsons Rockwell is an American actress, author and comedian. She is best known for her role as Hilary Banks on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air from 1990 to 1996. Parsons also starred in the 1995 film Major Payne opposite Damon Wayans, and in The Job (2001–2002) as Toni.

Early life[edit]

Parsons was born in Los Angeles, California. In an interview for Essence in 2008, she described her parentage as biracial.[1] Her mother, Louise Parsons, is African-American from Charleston, South Carolina and her father, Kenneth B. Parsons, is British American of English and Welsh descent and from Butte, Montana. She attended Santa Monica High School.[2][better source needed]


Parsons starred as Hilary Banks on the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which aired on NBC from 1990 to 1996. She co-created, co-produced, co-wrote, and co-starred on the Fox sitcom Lush Life in 1996, which was later canceled after four episodes. In 2001, she starred in the critically acclaimed but short-lived television series The Job with Denis Leary. Besides television, Parsons has starred in several films, particularly in comedies such as Late Nights (1992), Major Payne (1995), and The Ladies Man (2000). Parsons is the creator of Sweet Blackberry, a line of animated films about unsung black heroes. The first in the series is about Henry "Box" Brown, a slave who mailed himself to freedom.[3]

Parsons has also published two books for children: a middle-grade novel, How High the Moon (2019), which was loosely inspired by stories of her mother's childhood in the Jim Crow South;[4] and Flying Free (2020), a picture-book biography of Bessie Coleman illustrated by R. Gregory Christie.

Personal life[edit]

Parsons married The Young and the Restless actor Randy Brooks in 1987; they divorced in 1990.[citation needed] Parsons married director Alexandre Rockwell in 2003.[5] Together they have a daughter, Lana, and a son, Nico.[6]



Year Title Role Notes
1989 Death Spa Brooke Her film debut
1992 Class Act Ellen
1995 Major Payne Emily Walburn
1998 Mixing Nia Nia
2000 The Ladies Man Julie Simmons
2002 13 Moons Lily
2017 On Monday of Last Week Tracy Short film


Year Title Role Notes
1987 The Bronx Zoo Amelia Episodes: "Changes" and "The Power of a Lie"
1988 Hunter Elizabeth Childs Episode: "Renegade"
1988 CBS Summer Playhouse Lynette Episode: "Roughhouse"
1990–96 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Hilary Banks Main role; 146 episodes
1992 Blossom Hilary Banks Episode: "Wake Up Little Suzy"
1992 Out All Night Hilary Banks Episode: "The Great Pretender"
1995 The John Larroquette Show Annie Episode: "Several Unusual Love Stories"
1996 Gulliver's Travels Lady-in-waiting Episode: "February 4, 1996"
1996 Lush Life Margot Hines Lead role
1999 Melrose Place Jackie Zambrano Episodes: "How Amanda Got Her Groove" and "Unpleasantville"
1999 Linc's Elaine Episode: "Dog Day Afternoon"
2001–02 The Job Toni Main role
2002 Static Shock Tracy Voice; Episode: "Static Shaq"


  • How High the Moon (2019)
  • Flying Free (2020)


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-12-27. Retrieved 2012-01-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Karyn Parsons Biography - Yahoo! Movies".
  3. ^ Maltais, Michelle (December 22, 2005). "Delivered from slavery". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  4. ^ Rogo, Paula (August 18, 2018). "You'll Want To Add 'Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air' Star Karyn Parsons' Debut Novel To Your Bookshelf". Essence. Retrieved 2019-12-17.
  5. ^ Spencer, Ashley. "What Happened to 'Fresh Prince' Star Karyn Parsons?". Vice. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  6. ^ Hunt, Stephen (February 3, 2008). "Fresh Prince's Hilary Produces a Little Black History". Calgary Herald. Postmedia Network. Retrieved February 16, 2015.

External links[edit]