30 years ago today, Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper debuted on ABC. Starring comedian Mark Curry as the title character, this sitcom became a staple in the network’s highly popular TGIF lineup on Friday evenings.
Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper. took place in the city of Oakland – Curry’s hometown – and followed Cooper in his daily life as a school teacher and basketball coach. The former Golden State Warrior regularly interacted with his colleagues and students and Oakbridge High School, as well as family members, friends, and roommate Vanessa Russell, played by Holly Robinson Peete. The show lasted five seasons and gave audiences several hilarious moments with each episode.
Alongside Curry and Peete, the show’s cast also included Dawnn Lewis as Cooper’s best friend Robin Dumars, the late Nell Carter as Oakbridge’s principal P.J. Moore, Raven Symoné as Nicole Lee, Omar Gooding played Earvin Rodman, and Sandra Quarterman starred as Geneva Lee.
Airing from September 22, 1992 to August 30, 1997, this sitcom held its own during what many considered the Golden Age of African American comedy. Shows such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Martin, Family Matters, and the final seasons of A Different World were on television at this time, giving audiences across the country a broader view of the Black experience. Since the finale, this series has remained in syndication, appearing on Nickelodeon, TVOne, BET, and Hulu, and it is now available for streaming on HBO Max.
Take a look at the amazing cast of Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper – then and now.
The star of Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, Mark Cooper is a former basketball player who becomes a high school teacher and PE teacher for Oakbridge High School.
Curry is an actor and comedian, and host. Since the last episode of Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, he served as one of the various hosts of the syndicated series It’s Showtime at the Apollo during the early 1990s. Curry co-starred also in all three seasons of See Dad Run, Nick At Nite’s first original live-action family comedy series, from 2012 to 2015.
Mark’s roommate – and eventual love interest – who originally worked for a firm, then worked various odd jobs before settling on working as a EMT.
Holly Robinson Peete
Already an established actress prior to Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, Peete was a main cast member on the sitcom For Your Love, and served as one of the original co-hosts of the CBS talk, The Talk. She won an NAACP Image Award in 2011, and was most recently seen in the film The Journey Ball.
Music teacher and Mark’s best friend since childhood who asked Mark move in with her and Vanessa in order to help pay the rent.
Known for her role as Jaleesa Vinson–Taylor on the NBC television sitcom A Different World from 1987 to 1992, Dawnn Lewis was pivotal to the first season’s cast. Since her departure from the show, she has appeared on Girlfriends, Better Call Saul, Grey’s Anatomy, and more.
Mark’s preteen cousin, whom Mark thinks of as practically a daughter; develops a friendship with next-door neighbor Tyler Foster.
After Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, Raven has received several accolades, including five NAACP Image Awards, two Kids’ Choice Awards, three Young Artist Awards, and three Daytime Emmy Award nominations. She has crafted a successful acting career and served as a co-host for The View.
One of Mark’s students and player on the Oakbridge Penguins boys’ basketball team.
Gooding appeared in several TV shows before Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, and continued acting in subsequent years. He starred as Sweetpea in Baby Boy, DH in Playmakers, Odell in HBO’s Deadwood, and many more.
Pamela Jane “P.J.” Moore
Principal of Oakbridge High during and was Mark’s sister’s best friend and his babysitter as a child. Treated Mark with tough love throughout the show.
The seasoned veteran of film, television, and stage appeared as a special guest-star on the show Reba and continued with the show, making three appearances in season one. The following year, Carter made two appearances on Ally McBeal. Unfortunately, she passed at her home in 2003
Nicole’s mother and Mark’s cousin from Georgia, moves in with Mark and Vanessa. She worked as a music teacher and then becomes principal at Oakbridge High.
Before starting in the show, Quarterman had a role as Dr. Angela Hubbard on All My Children. After Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, she has stepped of the spotlight since 2007 at The World Stage where she read poetry.
Mark’s next-door neighbor, whom Mark saw as an annoyance in the first two seasons and saw as a son in later episodes.
Since the show’s cancellation, Wilson has become an businessman with his own clothing line which features a unique collection of hoodies and shirts.