Jasmine Guy is an American actress, dancer, singer, and director who is known for her role of Whitley Gilbert in NBC’s ‘The Cosby Show’ spin-off ‘A Different World’ and Roxy in ‘Dead Like Me’. Born to a white mother and a black father, the actress is biracial. While she is dark-skinned, many feel that her skin tone is not “dark enough” to be considered black. Owing to this, she was often bullied in her school by other black students. As a biracial young woman, she struggled a lot while trying to establish herself in the show business as well. After learning dancing at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, New York, she made her debut in the TV series ‘Fame’ as a dancer. Her film debut was in the movie ‘School Daze’. She also acted on stage in several Broadway, Off-Broadway and other productions. Apart from her acting career, she has also gained popularity for her singing. She released her debut album named ‘Jasmine Guy’ (1990) which reached #143 on the US Top 200 Album Chart. She married Terrence Duckett and was blessed with a daughter named Imani. The couple divorced after being married for a decade.
Childhood & Early Life
Jasmine Guy was born on March 10, 1962, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. to William Guy and Jaye Rudolph. Her father is an African-American pastor at the historic Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta and also a college instructor in philosophy and religion. Her mother is a Portuguese-American former high school teacher.
She grew up in the affluent historic Collier Heights neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia, and attended North Atlanta High School. Due to her mixed skin tone, she was a target of bullying by other students, and was involved in many fights in her childhood.
She used to sing in her father’s church choir.
She has a sister named Monica Guy, who was also her stand-in on the set of the TV series ‘A Different World’. At the age of 17, she moved to New York and joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Center to study dance.
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
Jasmine Guy began her career in 1982 with the television series ‘Fame,’ in which she portrayed a non-speaking role of a dancer. She made her Broadway debut in the revival of ‘The Wiz’ in 1984. In the ensuing years, she appeared in many television series and theatrical productions.
She appeared in the TV series ‘The Equalizer’ and ‘A Different World’ before making her film debut in Spike Lee's musical-drama film ‘School Daze’ in 1988. In the following year, she appeared in the movie ‘Harlem Nights’.
Her TV credits also include many guest appearances, most notably in ‘Melrose Place’ (1995) and ‘NYPD Blue’ (1995). She portrayed Roxy Harvey in the series ‘Dead Like Me’ (2003-04) and had a recurring role in ‘The Vampire Diaries’ (2009-14, 2017).
Her film credits include roles in ‘Cats Don't Dance’ (1997), ‘October Baby’ (2011), and ‘Big Stone Gap’ (2015). She has also appeared in several Broadway productions including ‘Leader of the Pack’, ‘Chicago’, and ‘Living Single’.
She directed the world premiere of the opera ‘I Dream’ in July 2010 and the play ‘The Colored Museum’ for True Colors in 2011.
Also a singer, she released her self-titled debut album featuring three singles ‘Try Me’, ‘Just Want to Hold You’ and ‘Another Like My Lover’ in 1990.
Jasmine Guy is best known for her role of Whitley Gilbert in ‘A Different World’ (1987-93). She wrote three episodes and directed one along with acting in the series. She received four consecutive ‘NAACP Image Award’ for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, from 1990 to 1993.
Her debut R&B album named ‘Jasmine Guy’ (1990) peaked at #143 on the US Top 200 Album Chart and reached #38 on the Top R&B Albums chart. Her last single titled ‘Just Want to Hold You’ cracked the US Top 40 singles chart.
Family & Personal Life
On August 22, 1998, Jasmine Guy married her boyfriend, actor Terrence Duckett, and the couple welcomed a daughter named Imani in 1999. Her decade-long marriage ended in 2008 due to irreconcilable differences between the two. She received all she had requested for in her filing, including her daughter’s sole custody.
She and her daughter are currently residing in her childhood hometown of Atlanta, Georgia.
She was good friends with slain rapper Tupac Shakur, whom she had met through her costar on ‘A Different World’, Jada Pinkett Smith.
In 2016, she endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for the post of the President in the U.S. presidential election.
She collaborated with Shakur's mother, Afeni, to write a biography of her life as a former Black Panther. The book, ‘Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary’ was published in 2005 by Simon and Schuster.