True Colors (TV series)

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True Colors
Created byMichael J. Weithorn
Written byPeter Freedman
Gregory Allen Howard
Jeffrey Joseph
Michael J. Weithorn
Directed byPeter Bonerz
Stan Lathan
Arlene Sanford
Rob Schiller
Carol Scott
John Sgueglia
StarringFrankie Faison
(Season 1)
Cleavon Little
(Season 2)
Stephanie Faracy
Claude Brooks
Brigid Conley Walsh
Adam Jeffries
Nancy Walker
Theme music composerLennie Niehaus
Composer(s)Gordon Lustig
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes45
Executive producer(s)Michael J. Weithorn
Producer(s)Faye Oshima Belyeu
Running time22–24 minutes
Production company(s)Hanley Productions
20th Century Fox Television
Original networkFox
Original releaseSeptember 2, 1990 (1990-09-02) –
April 12, 1992 (1992-04-12)

True Colors is an American sitcom television series that aired on Fox from September 2, 1990 to April 12, 1992 for a total of 45 episodes.[1] The series was created by Michael J. Weithorn, and featured an interracial marriage and a subsequent blended family.


Premise and first season[edit]

Set in Baltimore, Ronald Freeman (Frankie Faison) is a widowed African-American dentist who marries Ellen Davis (Stephanie Faracy), a divorced white kindergarten teacher who was one of his patients. Ron has two sons from his first marriage, 17-year-old earnest conservative Terry (Claude Brooks) and daydreaming 14-year-old troublemaker Lester (Adam Jeffries), while Ellen has a teenage daughter, studious, cause-driven Katie (Brigid Conley Walsh). Ellen's ex-husband, Leonard (played in guest appearances by Paul Sand), who is accepting of her second marriage, would occasionally visit her while attempting to get his life back on track. Although the series did focus on race issues, most episodes focused on the family adjusting to their new living situation and the three children going through adolescence.

Second season[edit]

In the second season of the series, Faison was replaced by Cleavon Little as Ron Freeman. Nancy Walker, who was suffering from lung cancer, continued to star on the series, but ultimately only appeared in half the season's episodes due to her treatments and compromised health. Before long, due to the sudden loss of her physical mobility, Walker went on to appear in a motorized wheelchair for the majority of her second-season episodes. Terry went off to Marshall State University that fall, not far from home. Ellen accepted a new teaching job at Cortez Junior High, and during the season, she finally realized her long-time talent as a painter. She began to showcase some of her work at local art exhibits, in hopes of launching a new side career. Early in 1992, Robert (Norman D. Golden II) was introduced. Robert, who went by the nickname "Twist", was a young neighbor boy who attached himself to the Freemans, stealing scenes and causing an uproar, usually involving Lester and Terry along the way. Meanwhile, Little's physical appearance began to look more gaunt during the course of the season, as the actor disclosed he was battling colorectal cancer.

Cancellation and cast deaths[edit]

Fox shortened the season order for True Colors by February sweeps, and kept the episode total at 21. The new episode aired on April 12, 1992 wound up being the series' last, as Fox cancelled True Colors one month later. However, Walker, who had continued working into the winter months until she could no longer do so, died on March 25, 1992, after the series had produced what would be its last episode, but less than a month before the last original episode aired. On October 22, 1992, Little died of cancer.[2]


Episode list[edit]

Season 1 (1990–91)[edit]

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
11"Pilot"Stan LathanMichael J. WeithornSeptember 2, 1990 (1990-09-02)
22"A Pair of Cranks"Stan LathanMichael J. WeithornSeptember 9, 1990 (1990-09-09)
Ron's disdain for Lester's friend JR Taylor is justified when JR shoplifts a pair of expensive athletic shoes. When Lester is accused of same, Sara bails him out by purchasing the shoes to avoid police involvement. But then Ron finds Sara's "gift", and Lester realizes he would have been better off in the County jail than in his father's jail.
33"One of the Girls"John SguegliaLloyd GarverSeptember 16, 1990 (1990-09-16)
44"A Dog's Life"TBATBASeptember 23, 1990 (1990-09-23)
55"Step Lightly"John SguegliaMichael J. WeithornSeptember 30, 1990 (1990-09-30)
66"Life with Fathers"John SguegliaAnne ConvyOctober 7, 1990 (1990-10-07)
77"What's Wrong with that Boy?"John SguegliaMichael J. WeithornOctober 21, 1990 (1990-10-21)
88"Tooth or Consequences"Rob SchillerGregory Allen HowardOctober 28, 1990 (1990-10-28)
99"Soft Shell"Arlene SanfordStan SeidelNovember 4, 1990 (1990-11-04)
1010"Young at Heart"Peter BonerzPeter FreedmanNovember 11, 1990 (1990-11-11)
1111"Occasional Wife"Peter BonerzAnne ConvyNovember 18, 1990 (1990-11-18)
1212"High Anxiety"Carol ScottPeter Freedman & Regina HicksNovember 25, 1990 (1990-11-25)
Terry harbors a fear of flying due to his acrophobia. Katie tries to use a psychological method to get Terry to overcome his fear of heights on the roof, but a gust of wind causes everyone to get locked out of the building.
1313"Puppet Regime"Rob SchillerRegina HicksDecember 16, 1990 (1990-12-16)
1414"Christmas Show '90"TBATBADecember 23, 1990 (1990-12-23)
1515"Moment of Ruth"Rob SchillerLloyd Garver & Regina HicksJanuary 13, 1991 (1991-01-13)
1616"A Real Pain"Rob SchillerStan SeidelFebruary 3, 1991 (1991-02-03)
1717"The Tender Trap"Carol ScottPeter Freedman & Anne ConvyFebruary 10, 1991 (1991-02-10)
1818"Opposites Attract"TBATBAFebruary 17, 1991 (1991-02-17)
1919"Homies Alone"Arlene SanfordTeleplay by: Regina Hicks & Stan Seidel
Story by: Peter Freedman
March 3, 1991 (1991-03-03)
2020"Daughter Dearest"Peter BonerzRegina HicksMarch 24, 1991 (1991-03-24)
Katie dates a fellow activist, but Terry has an intuition the man is trying to bed her, causing Ron to show concern and protection for his stepdaughter.
2121"A Matter of Principal"Peter BonerzWilliam SchifrinApril 14, 1991 (1991-04-14)
2222"Superman, Superego"Michael J. WeithornMichael J. WeithornApril 21, 1991 (1991-04-21)
2323"Prisoners of Love"Rob SchillerTeleplay by: Peter Freedman & Stan Seidel
Story by: Regina Hicks
April 28, 1991 (1991-04-28)
2424"Favorite Son"TBATBAMay 12, 1991 (1991-05-12)

Season 2 (1991–92)[edit]

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
251"Lester X"Rob SchillerLinda M. YearwoodAugust 22, 1991 (1991-08-22)
Nobody in the family knows what to do with Lester after he reads The Autobiography of Malcolm X...and then adopts the views therein, renaming himself "Abdul X". Ultimately, Malcolm's philosophies fail to apply in Lester's everyday life.
262"Strange Bedfellows"M.J. McDonnellStan SeidelSeptember 12, 1991 (1991-09-12)
273"Splendor in the Basement"TBATBASeptember 15, 1991 (1991-09-15)
284"Yo' House, Mama: Part 1"Rob SchillerKim Bass & Peter FreedmanSeptember 22, 1991 (1991-09-22)
295"Yo' House, Mama: Part 2"Rob SchillerKim Bass & Peter FreedmanSeptember 29, 1991 (1991-09-29)
306"Presumed Guilty"TBATBAOctober 6, 1991 (1991-10-06)
317"Not My Sister, Brother"TBATBAOctober 20, 1991 (1991-10-20)
328"Brotherly Love"TBATBANovember 3, 1991 (1991-11-03)
339"Three for All"TBATBANovember 10, 1991 (1991-11-10)
3410"Seems Like Old Times"TBATBADecember 8, 1991 (1991-12-08)
3511"Broken Home: Part 1"Rob SchillerPeter Freedman & Stan SeidelDecember 15, 1991 (1991-12-15)
3612"Broken Home: Part 2"TBATBADecember 22, 1991 (1991-12-22)
3713"Readin', Ritin' and Runnin"TBATBADecember 29, 1991 (1991-12-29)
3814"Photo Opportunity"TBATBAJanuary 5, 1992 (1992-01-05)
3915"Art Attack"TBATBAJanuary 12, 1992 (1992-01-12)
4016"The Beat Goes On"TBATBAFebruary 2, 1992 (1992-02-02)
4117"Half a Man"TBATBAFebruary 9, 1992 (1992-02-09)
4218"In a Flash"TBATBAFebruary 16, 1992 (1992-02-16)
4319"Affirmative Reaction"TBATBAMarch 1, 1992 (1992-03-01)
4420"Feelings Up"TBATBAMarch 22, 1992 (1992-03-22)
4521"Word to the Mother"TBATBAApril 12, 1992 (1992-04-12)


  1. ^ "True Colors". TV Guide.
  2. ^ "Cleavon Little, Award-Winning Actor, Dies at 53". The New York Times. October 23, 1992. Retrieved 2010-10-28. Cleavon Little, the actor best remembered for his role as a black sheriff hired to save a redneck town in Mel Brooks's 1974 comedy Blazing Saddles, died yesterday at his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He was 53 years old. He died of colon cancer, said David C. Pollick, his publicity agent in Los Angeles.

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