Who is Karyn Parsons?
Karyn Parsons is an American actress best known for playing Hilary Banks in NBC’s series ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’. She is also known for appearing in the award-winning film ‘Mixing Nia’ as well as for starring in the 1995 flick ‘Major Payne’ opposite Damon Wayans. Born as the only child to an African American mother and a Welsh American father, Parsons decided to become an actress at the age of 13. During this time, she was an aspiring dancer who had to retire from dancing due to a knee injury. She performed in her first play while at high school and bagged her first TV role in 1987. She then went on to appear in numerous dramas and movies. On a personal note, Parsons was married to actor Randy Brooks from 1987 to 1990. Since 2003, she has been married to director Alexandre Rockwell with whom she has a son and a daughter. In her free time, she likes to practice fencing and horse riding.
Karyn Parsons made her television debut in the 1987 drama ‘The Bronx Zoo’. Two years later, she appeared in the horror movie ‘Death Spa’. In 1990, she was cast in the drama series ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ as Hilary Banks, a role she played until 1996. In the 1990s, the actress appeared in an episode each of ‘Blossom’, ‘Out All Night’ and ‘The John Larroquette Show.’ During this time, she also starred as Emily Walburn in ‘Major Payne’, an American comedy directed by Nick Castle that featured Michael Ironside and Steven Martini as well.
Parsons joined the cast of the sitcom ‘Lush Life’ in 1996. She next played the titular role in the award-winning comedy drama movie ‘Mixing Nia’. The film follows the story of a biracial lady on a journey to find her real self. In 2000, Parsons played Julie Simmons in ‘The Ladies Man’, a comedy film which starred comedian and former Saturday Night Live (SNL) cast member, Tim Meadows. A year later, the actress had a role in ABC’s ‘The Job’. The drama follows a New York City police official who indulges in alcohol, cigarettes, and drug abuse, and his bumbling detective pals. During this time, Parsons also played Lily in Alexandre Rockwell’s comedy drama film ‘13 Moons’.
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Family & Personal Life
Karyn Parsons was born on October 8, 1966 in Los Angeles, California, USA, to Kenneth B. Parsons and Louise Parsons. Her father is of Welsh descent while her mother is an African American from South Carolina. Parsons graduated from Santa Monica High School. She received many scholarship offers, notably to the prominent New York City’s Tisch School of the Arts and Miller Theatre at the Columbia University. Unfortunately, she turned down the offers to focus on her own acting career.
Talking about the actress’ love life, Parsons married actor Randy Brooks in 1987. The couple separated in 1990 after which she went on to marry director Alexandre Rockwell in the year 2003. Together, they have two kids: daughter, Lana (born on June 8, 2003), and son, Nico (born on April 11, 2007).
Parsons is extremely benevolent and often dedicates her time to various charities. Currently, she runs a non-profit organization which focuses on educating kids on the significant historic roles of lesser-known Black Americans.