Whatever Happened To The Cast Of Living Single

Whatever Happened To The Cast Of Living Single

Fox’s “Living Single,” which ran from 1993 to 1998, was groundbreaking for multiple reasons. Along with fellow Fox series “Martin,” it was among the first network sitcoms to focus primarily on a group of Black professional twentysomething friends without some forced gimmick to tie the whole thing together. The fact that it featured not only a predominantly Black ensemble but one with more women than men among the main cast only further added to how ahead of its time “Living Single” was. Much has been made in recent years about how “Friends” might never have existed without “Living Single,” with the two shows having a very similar setup. In fact, the then-president of NBC admitted that he regretted not picking up “Living Single” — and only a year later, here came “Friends.”

The cast of “Living Single” was led by Queen Latifah, a rapper who was only just starting what would become a very long and successful career as an actor. The other big name was Kim Fields, already a television veteran at 24 years old, as she had previously been a main cast member for all nine seasons of “The Facts of Life.” The rest of the cast was largely rounded out by stand-up comedians and others who were fairly new in their acting careers, save for one particular actor who had already been in the business for 20 years when “Living Single” debuted. But what have they all been up to in the years since the series ended?

Kim Fields

The fact that she got the “and” credit in the opening of “Living Single” proves that Kim Fields was the show’s biggest name at the time, at least in terms of television. Not only was she known for her long-running role on “The Facts of Life,” but Fields was also a supporting cast member on both “Diff’rent Strokes” and “Good Times.” Fields’ character on “Living Single” was Regina, a self-absorbed lover of gossip and drama who would go on to be a make-up artist for a fictional soap opera as well as a wedding planner.
It was during her time on “Living Single” that Fields was first bit by the directing bug, helming two episodes of the series. She would follow that up with directing 27 episodes of the Nickelodeon sitcom “Keenan and Kel,” only actually appearing as an actor in a single episode. Throughout the 2000s and 2010s it would be much the same, with Fields mostly just dabbling in acting while focusing most of her attention on directing. Her biggest stint as director thus far was on the sitcom “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns,” overseeing 50 episodes of that show. More recently, she has seemingly rediscovered her love of acting: she is currently a main cast member of the Netflix series “The Upshaws,” with the show’s second season currently in the works.

John Henton

The closest that “Living Single” came to the wacky neighbor trope was through Overton, played by John Henton. Overton was the maintenance man for the building that the majority of the show took place in — the only other regular location on the show being the offices of the fictional magazine “Flavor.” Overton was also the show’s token “small town character living in the big city,” always ready to dispense some goofy homespun adage with the purest of intentions. His relationship with and eventual marriage to Synclaire (Kim Coles) would be the only long-term romance between any of the show’s main characters.

Before “Living Single,” John Henton was a stand-up comedian who got mainstream exposure after his first appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” in 1991. After “Living Single” ended, Henton would immediately move on to the main cast of another successful sitcom, “The Hughleys.” Two years into his stint on that show, Henton was in a serious car accident that required significant reconstructive surgery to his face — yet Henton was only away from the set for six weeks before he was back to work. Henton would only appear in a few more small acting roles between 2002 and 2014, and has since chosen to return to stand-up while also focusing on spending more time with his family.

Cress Williams

Cress Williams, who played Scooter, has been one of the busiest of all the “Living Single” alumni. He would go on to be a main or recurring cast member on multiple shows, including “E.R.,” “Veronica Mars,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Friday Night Lights,” and “Hart of Dixie.” He is also currently a member of the CW’s Arrowverse, playing Black Lightning both in that character’s titular show as well as on “The Flash” and “Legends of Tomorrow.” Williams has also frequently appeared in movies, which includes expanding his DC adaptation presence by voicing John Henry Irons in the animated films “The Death of Superman” and “Reign of the Supermen.”

Erika Alexander

The ’90s were good to Erika Alexander: she began the decade as a main cast member on the final two seasons of “The Cosby Show,” then moved right on to her five-season stint on “Living Single” a year after “The Cosby Show” ended. Her “Living Single” character was Max, the only of the core six characters to not live in one of the two apartments that the others all live in for much of the series. Despite that, viewers saw plenty of Max, a lawyer who was frequently around to raid the fridge and to give Kyle a hard time.
Alexander had been in a few movies in the early ’90s but largely took a break from Hollywood during the run of “Living Single.” However, she got back into the swing of it after “Living Single” ended, appearing in films pretty frequently between 1998 and today — including 2017’s acclaimed “Get Out.” Alexander also continued to be active on television, though mostly in minor roles throughout the 2000s. In the 2010s she stepped it up a bit, beginning to show up in more recurring casts on shows like “Last Man Standing,” “Bosch,” “Insecure,” and the currently-airing “Run the World.” She is also a main cast member on Hulu’s “Wu-Tang: An American Saga,” which currently has a confirmed third and final season in the works.

Chip Fields

It’s always fun when real life relatives play fictional relatives in a movie or on a TV show, and that very thing happened on “Living Single.” Chip Fields played the recurring character of Laverne Hunter, the mother of real-life daughter Kim Fields’ character Regina, across all five seasons of “Living Single.” Interestingly, before Laverne’s debut, Chip previously played two different one-off characters during the show’s first season: A character named Bev, and another that was an unnamed bar patron. The veteran actor and musician also served as a consultant on the series, a job that she also did on the shows “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper,” “Me and the Boys,” “Arsenio,” “Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century,” and “The Parkers.”

Like her daughter, Chip also has an affinity for directing and took it up around the same time that Kim did. She first directed an episode of “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper,” then spent a few more years directing an episode here and there of a few different shows. Once she got that experience in hand, Chip ramped up her time in the director’s chair on shows like “Girlfriends,” “One on One,” and “The Parkers.” Age hasn’t slowed her down one bit, with the 70-year-old directing 25 episodes of Nickelodeon’s “Young Dylan” in the last two years. She has largely given up acting, however, with only four credits since the end of “Living Single” and none since 2007.

T. C. Carson

Kyle was initially Overton’s roommate, and in a lot of ways, the two were complete opposites. Kyle was quick-witted while Overton took his time to find the right words; Kyle was a ladies’ man while Overton was content with pining over Synclaire; and Kyle had a stressful and high-paying job while Overton was just a chill building maintenance man. The other main facet of Kyle’s character was the constant mutual ribbing between him and Max, with the two pretending to hate each other on the surface but with clear sexual tension bubbling just beneath the surface. In true sitcom fashion, the two do officially become a couple by the end of the series after several false starts and apparent dead ends.

Kyle was played by T.C. Carson, who is no slouch in the looks department but whose best asset is arguably his deep, booming voice. To that end, the vast majority of his acting roles post-“Living Single” have played to that strength, with Carson lending his powerful pipes to many animated films, TV shows, and video games. In 2005, he began two of his most famous recurring voice roles: Mace Windu in various “Star Wars” titles and Kratos from “God of War.” He first played Windu in the 2005 “Clone Wars” animated series and would reprise the role in both the 2008 series as well as in numerous “Star Wars” video games. He launched his eight-year, 10-game stint as Kratos with the original “God of War” game.

Mel Jackson

A main “Living Single” cast member — but only in the fifth and final season of the show — Mel Jackson played musician Ira Lee “Tripp” Williams. Tripp was part of a storyline during that season with another new character named Roni DeSantos (played by Idalis DeLeon), a DJ who had a history with Tripp. However, after the show’s somewhat unexpected cancellation at the end of that season, neither character really got the chance to fully develop as they were probably intended to over at least another season or two. It’s just one of many reasons why the fifth season is not fondly remembered by fans, as it clearly smacked of some creative and personnel-related turmoil going on behind the scenes.

Despite his “Living Single” career being over almost as soon as it started, Jackson was far from done with acting at that point. He was a main cast member on the sitcom “DAG” and also had multi-episode stints on “In The House,” “The Parkers,” and “The Division.” He also appeared in numerous films between 1997 and 2015, most notably the iconic movie “Soul Food.” However, after that, there is little known about Jackson or what he’s been up to, personally or professionally. The most active he seems to be in the public sphere is via his Instagram account, but he largely uses that to post pictures and inspirational messages while sharing very little in the way of personal details.

Kim Coles

Besides Overton, the other main source of comic relief on “Living Single” came by way of Synclaire, played by Kim Coles. Synclaire was the show’s token quirky character, showcased by things like her oh-so-’90s affinity for Troll dolls, the way she talks to her plants, and her relentlessly upbeat attitude. The budding romance between her and Overton is as charming as it is innocent, feeling more like young puppy love than the sexually-charged energy between characters like Kyle and Max.

Interestingly enough, like Overton actor John Henton, Kim Coles was primarily a stand-up comedian before her breakthrough acting role on “Living Single.” After that, she was all-in on acting, steadily working on television throughout the ’90s, 2000s, and 2010s. Most recently, she has shifted focus to a career as a life coach and motivational speaker, primarily for entrepreneurs and people within the business world. She also oversees the book anthology “G.I.F.T.S.” where she uses her own personal struggles and triumphs to help enrich readers’ lives. It seems that Coles had a lot in common with Synclaire in terms of positivity and wanting the best for everyone around her. Coles hasn’t completely abandoned her stand-up roots, however, hosting AXS TV’s “Gotham Comedy Live” just this past March.

Shaun Baker

Much of the backbone of “Living Single” was fictional magazine “Flavor,” which employed multiple characters on the show both main and recurring. One such character was Russell Montag, a music editor for “Flavor” who had sporadic appearances throughout the show’s second through fifth seasons. His main narrative was that he pined for Regina, a love that would ultimately go unrequited as Regina ended her time on the show by moving in with her fiancé, Dexter. Still, Russell was a fun character and one that probably deserved more episodes than he ended up getting.

Shaun Baker, who played Russell, did just fine though. While on “Living Single,” he was also a recurring cast member on “NYPD Blue” through 2002. After the end of “Living Single,” he began his time as a main cast member on syndicated action series “V.I.P.,” where he could finally showcase his considerable talents in the martial arts. While he hasn’t had as high-profile or long-running a role since his time on both “NYPD Blue” and “V.I.P.” came to an end, Baker has continued to work steadily in both film and television. He has also done a lot more live theater in the past few years — where his acting career originally began — most recently in the traveling production of “War Words.”

Queen Latifah

While “Living Single” was very much an ensemble show, if there had to be a character who qualified as its main lead, it was Khadijah. Played by Queen Latifah, Khadijah was the editor-in-chief of “Flavor” magazine and the character whose relationships to and history with the other three main women on the show are what tied them all together. Synclaire is Khadijah’s cousin, Regina is her childhood friend, and Max her best friend from college.
Unlike Will Smith, who was an unknown quantity as an actor when he first started on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” rapper Queen Latifah had already been showcasing her acting talents prior to “Living Single.” Not only had she appeared in two episodes of “Fresh Prince,” but Latifah already had three high-profile movies under her belt before “Living Single” debuted: “Jungle Fever,” “House Party 2,” and “Juice.” Her career during and since “Living Single” has been prolific and successful indeed, including making history as the first female rapper to be nominated for an Academy Award in 2003 for her role in the film adaptation of “Chicago.” Three years later, she became the first rapper to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is currently star and an executive producer of the series “The Equalizer,” which is wrapping up its second season.


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