Sure, her birth certificate may say Taraji P. Henson, but in our eyes, she will always be Cookie Lyon from here on out. These 9 actors and actresses may have starred in other projects, but let's be honest—they will always be that one character to us (you know the one!).
Taraji P. Henson as Cookie ('Empire')
We've known Taraji for a loooong time, and we've loved her since Hustle & Flow, but from here on out, Taraji will forever be known as Cookie. Empire creator Lee Daniels admitted that he offered Taraji the role less than 30 seconds into her audition because she had "it," and we would have to agree. Admit it: In Taraji's next role, you'll be looking for just a smidge of Cookie to come out.
Photo by Chuck Hodes/FOX
Tracee Ellis Ross as Joan Clayton ('Girlfriends')
Bow who? Despite her success with Black-ish, we're still unapologetically attached to Joan Clayton. Many of her character since Girlfriend's abrupt finale have had Joan traits to them, but it's just not the same. In our eyes, her other roles are simply Joan-as-[fill-in-the-character].
Martin Lawrence as Martin Payne ('Martin')
Martin starred as Martin on Martin, so it's only natural that we see Martin as Martin (are you keeping up?). Yes, he was Big Momma, and yes, he was Marcus in Bad Boys, but weren't those characters really just Martin Payne was doing during talk show host segments?
Photo by IMDb
Tasha Smith as Angela Williams ('Why Did I Get Married')
Tasha Smith has a hefty resume, starring in everything from Daddy's Little Girls to Couples Retreat to Jumping the Broom to Addicted, but we just can't see her as anything other than the strong and argumentative Angela Williams who is unashamedly set in her ways. Sorry, Tasha, but you'll always be Angela to us!
Photo by Lions Gate Films
Alfonso Ribeiro as Carlton Banks ('The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air')
We love you, Alfonso, but you should just go ahead and legally change your name to Carlton. 'Nuff said.
Photo by Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank
Jasmine Guy as Whitley Gilbert ('A Different World')
Ever since A Different World went off the air in 1993, Jasmine Guy has popped up in numerous projects, including Dead Like Me, The Vampire Diaries, even Scary Movie 5. Buuuut let's be honest: the ghost of Southern Belle Whitney Gilbert will always follow her (where did her accent go in those other roles??). And we're completely okay with that!
Erika Alexander as Maxine Felice Shaw ('Living Single')
She didn't live in the building, but that doesn't mean that Max didn't have an effect on us! It doesn't matter if Erika Alexander is playing a navy commander on NCIS or a patient on Grey's Anatomy: The witty attorney will forever live on in our hearts.
Jaleel White as Steve Urkel ('Family Matters')
Jaleel, like it or not, you can never escape your fate as Steve Urkel. The show ended it's run almost 20 years ago, but the nerdy, lovable Urkel will live on forever. Every time we see Jaleel, we just want him to start talking in his nasally voice, tug on his suspenders and wonder, "Did I do that?"
Mo'Nique as Mary ('Precious')
Yes, Mo'Nique is and will always be one of our favorite comedians, and yes, she slayed her role as Nikki Parker on The Parkers (RIP), but we don't know if we'll ever get past her portrayal of Mary in Precious. She completely immersed herself in that role, and her hard work paid off—she nabbed the Oscar for Best Actress in 2010.