Childhood & Early Life
Lisa was born on November 16, 1967, in San Francisco, California, US to Allen Bonet and Arlene (née Litman). Her opera singer father is an African-American while her mother is an Ashkenazi Jew who was by profession a teacher.
Her parents parted ways when she was still young. She has many half-siblings, all younger to her.
She delved into acting as a child artist at 11 years of age performing in commercials. She also appeared in many beauty pageants and featured in guest spots on TV series during her childhood.
She studied in the Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, California, and then majored in acting from Celluloid Actor's Studio located in North Hollywood.
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
Her initial acting endeavours include playing Carla in the American medical drama black comedy TV series ‘St. Elsewhere’ in the seventh episode of its second season titled ‘Entrapment’ that featured on December 7, 1983.
Her breakthrough came in 1984 when she landed up playing the role of Denise Huxtable, the free-spirited and rebellious second child of Dr. Cliff and Clair Huxtable, in the American TV sitcom ‘The Cosby Show’ starring Bill Cosby.
‘The Cosby Show’ that premiered on NBC on September 20, 1984 and ran for 8 seasons till April 30, 1992, was a hit being rated #1 show on TV for five of its consecutive seasons.
Bonet garnered immense popularity playing Denise in ‘The Cosby Show’ featuring on-and-off in the series starting from its first episode titled ‘Theo's Economic Lesson’ till the twenty-fourth episode of its seventh season titled ‘Cliff and Jake’ that featured on April 11, 1991, thus appearing in a total of 98 episodes.
Her remarkable performance in ‘The Cosby Show’ earned her ‘Emmy Award’ and ‘Young Artist Award’ nomination.
Meanwhile in 1985, she featured in two American anthology TV series - as Justine in the episode ‘The Satanic Piano’ from the series ‘Tales from the Darkside’, and as Carrie in the series ‘ABC Afterschool Special’.
She succeeded on small-screen as Denise Huxtable, and forayed into big-screen flicks featuring as Epiphany Proudfoot in the Alan Parker directed American neo-noir psychological horror film ‘Angel Heart’ starring opposite Mickey Rourke and Robert De Niro. The film released on March 6, 1987.
'Angel Heart’ saw her coming out of her goody-goody image of Denise and featuring in explicit scenes with Rourke. It fetched her ‘Young Artist Award’ for Best Young Female Superstar in Motion Pictures at the 9th Youth in Film Awards as also a ‘Saturn Award’ nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
She then went on to pose nude for several magazines including a topless centrespread in ‘Interview’.
Continue Reading Below
Her professional relationship with Bill Cosby, her boss and co-star of ‘The Cosby Show’, remained difficult, especially with regard to her performance in ‘Angel Heart’ which is rumoured to have led to her exit from the series.
Her brilliant performance as Denise Huxtable and popularity of the character however saw her reprising the role in the sitcom ‘A Different World’, a spin-off of ‘The Cosby Show’ that premiered on NBC on September 24, 1987; as also in the TV special ‘The Earth Day Special’ that aired on April 22, 1990, on ABC.
Following the first season of ‘A Different World’, Bonet was fired from the series, but she temporarily appeared in ‘The Cosby Show’ after she became pregnant. She again made her return to ‘The Cosby Show’ in its seventh season after a hiatus during pregnancy, but was eventually fired because of “creative differences”.
She was the host of the elections special program ‘Why Bother Voting?’ in September 1992.
The 1993 ‘Bank Robber’ directed and written by Nick Mead saw her in the starring role of Priscilla.
She starred as Catherine Briggs in the Nigel Dicks directed 1994 crime-thriller flick ‘Final Combination’. That year she also appeared in a Television movie titled ‘New Eden’ portraying the character of Lily.
She then went on to play the supporting role of Rachel Banks in the Will Smith and Gene Hackman starrer American conspiracy-thriller film ‘Enemy of the State’. The film that released on November 20, 1998 emerged as a big hit at box-office.
Her versatility came to shore yet again when she played Marie De Salle in the American romantic-comedy film ‘High Fidelity’ that released to commercial success on March 31, 2000. It earned her a Theatrical – Best Supporting Actress nomination at the 2001 ‘Black Reel Awards’.
The Philip Haas directed TV movie ‘Lathe of Heaven’ that was produced for the A&E network and released on October 29, 2002, saw her essaying the role of Heather Lelache starring opposite James Caan and Lukas Haas. The movie received a 2003 Saturn Award nomination in the category of Best Single Program Presentation.
Moving on, she featured as Queenie in the January 31, 2003 released film ‘Biker Boyz’ that however failed to get success at the box-office and received generally negative critical reviews. Her other big-screen endeavours include playing Mae Evans in the 2005 film ‘Whitepaddy’ and as Magdalena in the commercially successful 2014 drama-thriller ‘Road to Paloma’.
Juggling between TV and big-screen, Bonet played the role of Maya Daniels in the US adaptation of the British science fiction crime drama TV series ‘Life on Mars’. The series that aired originally from October 9, 2008 to April 1, 2009 on ABC comprising 17episodes saw her featuring in 5 of them.
She then worked in some other TV series including featuring in a couple of episodes in ‘Drunk History’ (2013-14); in seven episodes in ‘The Red Road’ (2014–15); and in a couple of episodes in ‘Girls’ (2016) among others.
Personal Life & Legacy
She eloped with American singer, songwriter, producer and actor, Lenny Kravitz, to Las Vegas on her 20th birthday in 1987. The only daughter of the couple, Zoë Isabella, who grew up to be a singer, model and actress, was born on December 1, 1988. Bonet parted ways with Kravitz in 1993.
She changed her name legally from Lisa Bonet to Lilakoi Moon in 1995, nevertheless continues to use the former professionally.
She married actor Jason Momoa on November 15, 2007; she was in a relationship with the actor since 2005. Together, they are blessed with two children; a daughter, Lola Iolani Momoa, born on July 23, 2007, and a son, Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa, born on December 15, 2008.