Monday, September 22, 2008


Last week my brother called me and said guess who I saw when I was out at a restaurant? Well he was in Los Angeles, CA at the time so I'm thinking there is no telling who he saw. There have been plenty of times where he's reported to me that he spotted celebrities, sports icons, and even porn stars just out and about in regular places. However, I know he's not the star struck type person so it's never really a big deal to him. Well on this particular time he was out at a local Red Robin and saw an actor. I had no clue who it could have been was nor was I even going to try and guess. So I asked him who it was. As he began to tell me all I heard was O...But as soon as he said that one letter we both said in unison the one and only "O.G. Bobby Johnson."

Now some of you possibly younger readers may be wondering who in the world is O.G. Bobby Johnson? I'm glad you asked that because this blog is dedicated to those actors and actresses that never quite excelled beyond certain roles they played. The Hollywood or movie industry term is called "typecasting." According to Wikipedia "typecasting is the process by which a film, TV, or stage actor is strongly identified with a specific character, one or more particular roles, or characters with the same traits or ethnic grouping. There have been instances in which an actor has been so strongly identified with a role as to make it impossible for him or her to find work playing other characters." Well below I've compiled a list of actors/actresses that as soon as you see them you will most likely identify them as a character they played. Except for a couple, I'm almost sure that if someone told you their real name you wouldn't even know who they were talking about. But hopefully after this blog we'll be able to identify them as more than that one character. I doubt it but we'll see. LoL.

O.G. Bobby Johnson aka Glenn Plummer
Although Glenn Plummer began his career playing the notable role of Hightower in the movie "Colors," it was when he played O.G. Bobby Johnson in the movie "South Central" that most remember him from. Plummer has an extensive Hollywood resume according to IMDb he has played in over 90 roles including in some popular movies such as "Menace II Society," "Trespass," "Strange Days," "The Substitute," and "Saw II." Also, he's made appearances on TV shows such as "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "The Jamie Foxx Show," and "ER." But although he has never had a lack of work in Hollywood, the role of O.G. Bobby Johnson has to be one of his most memorable roles.

Steve Urkel aka Jaleel White
If you remember TGIF on ABC back in the early 90's then you definitely recall the show "Family Matters." But before his role as the nerdy Steve Urkel, Jaleel White made small appearances on shows such as "The Jeffersons" and "Mr. Belvedere." In it's 9 year run Family Matters dominated ratings on Friday evenings. Unfortunately for Jaleel White after the show ended he was forever known as Steve Urkel aka Stefan. Although he later starred in another sitcom called "Grown Ups," after a few episodes the show was cancelled. However, more recently White has scored roles in the movie "Dream Girls" and roles on shows such as "Half and Half," "The Game," and "Boston Legal." But regardless of what role he plays we'll always know Jaleel as Steve Urkel.

Brother Man aka Reginald Ballard
Before playing the role of Brother Man aka Bruh Man on the TV Show "Martin,"Reginald Ballard played roles in the movies "Class Act" and "Menace II Society." Also, he had small roles on TV shows "A Different World" and "Sister Sister." But most probably remember him as the mooching neighbor Bruh Man from the 5th Floor (holding up 4 fingers. lol). After playing in over 13 episodes of Martin Ballard went on to play roles in shows such as "Malcolm & Eddie," "ER," " Las Vegas," "The Parkers," and "Veronica Mars." Most recently Ballard played in over 26 episodes of "The Bernie Mac Show" as the character WB, and in an episode of "All of Us." Although he tried to expand his resume whenever I see Reginald Ballard I automatically picture Bruh Man with a Samich in one hand, walking with the slow bob, and giving the head nod as he exits through the window. Although he's not the inventor, the phrase "Brother Man head nod" was still coined after this character.

Fred "Re-Run" Stubbs aka Fred Berry
Prior to his role on the show "What's Happening!!" Fred Berry appeared in an episode of "The Brady Bunch." However, after 34 episodes of What's Happening the show was cancelled in 1979. Berry had no note worthy roles after What's Happening that was until a spin off was created called "What's Happening Now!" This show lasted about a year and Berry had 21 episodes. After What's Happening now Berry had no major acting roles and the majority of Berry's appearances were him playing himself and Re-Run. Those appearances included "Murder Was the Case," "Scrubs," and "Doggy Fizzle Televizzle." Unfortunately, after a stroke and complications Berry passed away in 2003. Even after his passing we'll always know Fred Berry as the pop-locking, red baret and red suspenders wearing Re-Run.

J.J. aka Jimmie Walker
Jimmie Walker started out as a stand up comedian but after starring in the movie "Let's Do it Again," Jimmie Walker landed the role as James "J.J." Evans Jr. on the show "Good Times." After a 5 year run and over 98 episodes of Good Times and probably a million times saying his catch phrase "Dynomite!!" Walker was stuck with the task of trying to find other work in Hollywood. He played roles here and there on shows such as "The Love Boat," "Cagney and Lacey," and "The Fall Guy." Also, he had roles in movies such as "Bustin Loose." In 1991 I remember falling victim to a free movie screening of him starring in the movie "Guyver" which I must say ranks up there on my worst movies of all time list. LoL. He spent his 1990's career making appearances on shows such as "In the House," "The Drew Carey Show," and "George Lopez." Also, he had a movie role in "Home Alone 2." Most recently he's played a re-occurring role (3 episodes) on "Everybody Hates Chris." But after over 33 years in Hollywood you can't help but to still refer to Walker as ... "Kid Dynomite!!"

Screech aka Dustin Diamond
The only notable role for Diamond prior to the break out teen hit "Saved by the Bell" was a role in "Big Top Pee-wee." Saved by the Bell and it's different spin-offs (Saved by the Bell: College Years, and The New Class) stayed on the air from 1988-2000. Diamond himself played in a total of over 175 episodes. But once the show ended its reign over Saturday mornings Diamond virtually faded away from the Hollywood scene. The only role of note was a small role in the movie "Big Fat Liar." That was until his a sex tape "Screeched aka Saved by the Smell" was released in 2006. After this he made appearances on reality shows such as Celebrity Fit Club. But sex tape and all he is still regarded as the high pitched high school nerd Screech.

Arnold Jackson aka Gary Coleman
Before his 8 year run on "Different strokes" as Arnold Jackson Gary Coleman appeared in such shows as "The Little Rascals," "The Jeffersons," and "Good Times." But as Arnold Jackson he played the cute, lovable and at time annoying adopted son to a rich white man on Different Strokes. The character Arnold actually appeared on other network shows such as "The Facts of Life" and "Silver Spoons." But after Different Strokes ended he was forced to take smaller roles (no pun intended. lol) appearing on shows such as "227," "Married with Children," "Martin," "Unhappily Ever After," "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," and "Homeboys in Outer space." Some of his most recent appearances included "The Jamie Foxx Show (2000)," and "The Drew Carey Show (2001)." In all other roles he simply appeared as himself and not a scripted character. But we can all be honest that if we saw Gary Coleman right now the first thing we would say is "What you talkin bout Willis?" LoL.

Webster aka Emmanuel Lewis

The show "Webster" ran from 1983-1989. Emmanuel Lewis was the cute, adorable child star that was the show's main character. Prior to Webster he had only appeared in an episode of "The Love Boat." Also, Webster was one of the first kids that Michael Jackson took a liking to. I'm not sure if that hurt or helped his career. But the only other notable role he played since Webster was on an episode of "Moesha." However, he did make numerous appearances as himself on "In the House," "Family Matters," "Malcolm & Eddie," "One on One," and the movie "Kickin It Old Skool."

Topanga aka Danielle Fishel

After appearances on "Full House" and "Harry and the Hendersons" Fishel landed the role of Topanga Lawrence on "Boy Meets World." As the love interest of the main character Corey she played in 150 episodes during the shows 7 year run. A funny story is that when I was in California attending high school that Danielle attended the same school. I believe she was a Freshman when I was a Junior. She was actually in a Physical Education class with me. But she was really stuck up wouldn't talk to anyone like she was better than the rest of the other rich white kids and the one black guy (that would be me LoL). But I always thought in my head like who are you? You're just Topanga and in 5 or so years no one will even care about that. Well according to her work resume after the demise of Boy Meets World she made an appearance in the show "Yes Dear" and the movies "National Lampoons Presents Dorm Daze 1 & 2." That's it. So guess my prediction was right. LoL.

Rudy Huxtable aka Keisha Knight Pulliam
Her first role was actually on the Cosby; however, there are some unnamed episodes of "Sesame Street" that she did appear on. The Cosby show ran from 1984-1992. Rudy was the youngest of the Cosby Kids until she got a little older and Raven Samone came in and stole the cute spot light. Keisha appeared in 177 episodes of the series. She also appeared in a few episodes of the spin off "A Different World" as the same character. Her only other acting appearance for almost 10 years was on "Cosby" in 1997. Reports state that she took the time off working to go to school and that she even finished law school. However, much to everyone's shock she re-appeared in Chingy's 2004 "One Call Away" video as his main love interest looking very grown up and sexy to say the least. After this she began acting again and appeared in the movie "Beauty Shop" and the show "House of Payne." Also, she's set to play in Tyler Perry's next installment "Madea Goes to Jail."
I know Hollywood is a tough business to even break into to begin with. However, I think its even harder to remain there once you've initially broken into it. Also, I'm sure that once you've been type casted it makes it virtually impossible to even find quality roles. Some have to totally switch up and played a role that is totally opposite of that famed role in order to give a different image. Unfortunately, child stars such as the ones I mentioned probably have it hardest. But I think regardless of what roles they may play in the end when you think of these actors I've mentioned and others in their same position you still see them as that character. So we can say their real names all day long. But just like your momma or your grandma still calling your grown ass by your nickname from childhood people are going to call you what they know you as.


1 comment:

Just Jasmine said...

you missed a couple of made for tv movies with rudy...

LMAO @ tupanga ignoring that one black guy in her gym class