Worked With:

Nina Dobrev


Brian White


Brooke Elliott


Alexandra Paul


Orlando Brown


Christopher Lloyd


Laura Harris


Dorien Wilson


Beau Bridges

Jasmine Guy Biography


Home > Actresses > G > Guy, Jasmine > Biography


Birth Name: Jasmine Guy
Born: 03/10/1962
Birth Place: Boston, Massachusetts, USA


Born March 10, 1962 in Boston, MA, Jasmine Guy grew up in Atlanta, GA, where she studied the triumvirate of singing, dancing and acting. As a teenager, she moved to New York City to continue her training at the famed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and subsequently made her uncredited screen debut as a dancer on the series "Fame" (NBC, 1982-83; syndicated, 1983-87), where she impressed one of the the show's stars and its choreographer, Debbie Allen. Although a true triple threat, Guy crossed over into straightforward acting with a guest spot on "The Equalizer" (CBS, 1985-89) and soon after landed her most famous role, as the hilariously pampered, pompous college student Whitley Gilbert on "A Different World" (NBC, 1987-1993). A spin-off of "The Cosby Show" (NBC, 1984-1992) built around freshman Denise Huxtable (Lisa Bonet), "World" underwent a metamorphosis when Bonet left the series after one season, and Guy moved into the leading lady slot.

At first a high-society Southern foil for the down-to-earth, Brooklyn-born Denise, Guy's Whitley deepened and evolved over the run of the series, and her personal growth, including her romance with the charismatic Dwayne Wayne (Kadeem Hardison), proved the sitcom's through-line. Proving herself equally adept at comedy and drama, Guy masterfully anchored the series, winning six Image Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and achieving a piece of pop cultural immortality in the hearts of viewers of a certain generation. While on the series, she also branched out with supporting film roles in "School Daze" (1988) and "Harlem Nights" (1989), as well as booking guest spots on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" (NBC, 1990-96) and an impressive turn in the epic miniseries "Alex Haley's Queen" (CBS, 1993) as the slave mother of Halle Berry's title character.

During the run of "World," Guy continued to stretch her artistic wings, directing one episode and writing three, and she also released a debut album, 1990's Jasmine Guy, which spun off three minor hits: "Try Me," "Another Like My Lover" and "Just Want to Hold You." After "World" completed its run, Guy earned an Image Award nomination for her recurring role on "Melrose Place" (Fox, 1992-99) as Caitlin Mills, an advertising exec who attempts to steal the crown from queen bee Amanda (Heather Locklear), and another for her work in "The Boy Who Painted Christ Black" segment of the acclaimed made-for-TV movie "America's Dream" (HBO, 1996). Booking guest spots on everything from "NYPD Blue" (ABC, 1993-2005) to "Touched by an Angel" (CBS, 1994-2003), Guy also lent her voice to the animated feature "Cats Don't Dance" (1997) and notched a supporting role in the Sarah Polley film "Guinevere" (1999).

She landed another series regular role with her Image Award-nominated turn as a grim reaper/meter maid on the darkly comic fantasy "Dead Like Me" (Showtime, 2003-04) and co-wrote the autobiography of family friend Tupac Shakur's mother, Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary. Guy scored a new generation of fans with no memories of Whitley when she was cast in the recurring role of "Gram," grandmother witch to Bonnie (Kat Graham) on the hugely successful "The Vampire Diaries" (The CW, 2009- ). She also had small roles in the films "Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming" (2010) and "October Baby" (2011), but increasingly turned her attentions to the stage. While occasionally taking film and television roles, Guy, who built an impressive side career as a stage actress and director with turns in Broadway productions including "The Wiz," "Grease" and "Chicago," also began moonlighting as a motivational speaker.

By Jonathan Riggs