Where Are They Now? The Cast of “Amen”
Hey y’all! I hope you’re ready for another “Where Are They Now”? This time, I’m bringing you the cast of “Amen.” This show, which starred the incomparable talent of Sherman Hemsley, was a hit with audiences that varied in race, social economic status, and values. Sinner or Saint, most people could find something that they enjoyed with this show. Tired of being in the dark about these actors’ current whereabouts? Let me “shine some light” for you:
Where are they now?
Sherman Hemsley as Deacon Ernest Frye
I knew that Sherman Hemsley was the man when he jumped double dutch in the opening sequence.
Deacon Frye wasn’t just a leader at the First Community Church in Philadelphia, he was also a lawyer who got in trouble for many of his half-baked ideas.
Mr. Hemsley, who was already a star from series like “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons,” was a TV favorite, and after the run of “Amen” he continued to get roles in TV, movies, and even released an album. He was seen on shows like “Martin,” “The Wayans Brothers,” “Sister, Sister,” “Family Matters,” and “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.” On top of that, he used his signature voice in animated and live action puppet shows like “Dinosaurs,” “The Magic School Bus,” and “Family Guy.”
Though he was an extremely shy and private man, he participated in the show “The Surreal Life” in its last season.
Due to his private nature, when he sadly died in July 2012, it lead to a lot of foolishness on the behalf of others. The fighting over his estate caused him not to be buried after a number of months after his death, and helped fuel rumors about his private life.Source: WENN
Anna Maria Horsford as Thelma Frye
Thelma was Deacon Frye’s single daughter who was completely enamored with Reverend Reuben.
Anna Maria Horsford had an extremely long career in acting. According to her IMDb page, she’s been acting since she was four! After “Amen” she did what all working actors do, kept acting. She’s been in programs like “Tall Hopes,” “Rhythm and Blues,” “Set it Off,” “The Wayans Brothers,” “The District,” “The Shield,” Friday, “New Girl,” and “Reed Between the Lines.” Her latest movie, Tyler Perry’s A Madea’s Family Christmas came out in 2013.Source: wenn.com
Clifton Davis as Reverend Reuben Gregory
Reverend Reuben was the love of Thelma’s life, and the thorn in Deacon Frye’s side.
Clifton Davis was always known from shows like “That’s My Mama,” as an established songwriter (he wrote the Jackson 5 hit “Never Can Say Goodbye“) and an established (and Tony nominated) Broadway performer. His life delved into an abyss of using women and cocaine, before he found God and turned his life around, making his role in “Amen” perfect for him.
After “Amen,” he’s continued to work as an actor, appearing in many shows like “Living Single,” “Sparks,” “American Dream,” and “Half and Half,” along with movies Any Given Sunday and Halloweentown High. He also released a number of critically acclaimed, Grammy nominated albums, while having a strong career as an ordained minister. Along with being a Chancellor at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina for a few years, he also is an avid philanthropist, for many programs like “Children’s Defense Fund,” “Trey Whitfield Foundation,” “Arise and Walk Ministries Foundation,” and others.cliftondavis.com
Jester Hairston as Rolly Forbes
What’s a church without parishioners? In the controlled chaos that was Deacon Frye’s schemes, and Reverend Reuben’s strictness came the voice of reason from loyal, elderly church attendee, Rolly Forbes, played by Jester Hairston.
Jester Hairston had a strong career since graduating from Julliard in the late 1920s. Already being a force in fields of music, radio, music and television, he reconnected with Clifton Davis from “That’s My Momma” and came to “Amen.” After “Amen” he appeared in Being John Malkovich and an episode of “Family Matters” which was his last role. In 2000, he died of natural causes at the age of 98, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Here’s a video of him talking to an audience before performing the popular church song “Amen,” that he wrote.
Roz Ryan as Amelia Hetebrink
No matter where you might try to find solace, there will always be someone around to provide the color commentary. In the confines of The First Community Church in Philadelphia, that commentary came from the sister duo, Amelia and Cassietta Hetebrink.
Roz Ryan, who portrayed Amelia, is an award winning Broadway actress, who appeared in many productions like Ain’t Misbehavin’, Dream Girls, and Chicago. Her first television role was “Amen,” and since then television and film audiences love her and her distinct voice. She’s played prominent roles in shows like “Barbershop,” “All About the Andersons,” and “The Rickey Smiley Show.” She also uses her amazing voice to portray some animated favorites. Her voice has been featured in such prominent shows like “Buzz Lightyear in Star Command, Disney’s Hercules and it’s show, “Kim Possible,” “The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack” (she was Bubbie!), “Adventure Time,” and as Witch Lezah in “The Looney Tunes Show.” She will be back on the Broadway circuit this year in the production All That Glitters this year.
Barbara Montgomery as Cassietta Hetebrink
When Amelia was chattering to someone, it was usually her sister, Cassietta, who was portrayed by Barbara Montgomery.
Barbara who was already established as a fixture in Off-Broadway productions and won an Obie award was a natural on her first sitcom gig in “Amen.”
After “Amen” she appeared in fan favorite shows, like “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Living Single,” “A Different World,” and “Sister Sister.” She also appeared in movies like Lift and Blackout, and made her directorial debut with the historical film Mitote.mitotethefilm.com
Elsa Raven as Inga (the housekeeper)
Have you ever watched a show that had a new character that appeared with a detailed back story and then just disappeared with no explanation? That’s who Inga, the maid, was in “Amen.” Appearing in a few episodes, Elsa Raven’s portrayal of Swedish housekeeper Inga was gone on a wing and a prayer.
Elsa Raven who already had a good amount of large title films under her belt (the film version of A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Postman Rings Twice just to name a few) went on to continue acting in big named films and shows. She was in “Wiseguy,” “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Murphy Brown,” Titanic, “Seinfeld,” and the short film They’re With Me, in 2011.
Rosetta LeNoire as Leola Henderson/Forbes
When Rolly Forbes was dispensing his wisdom to the masses in the church, he had his love interest and eventual wife by his side. Leola Henderson was first portrayed by Rosetta LeNoire.
Rosetta LeNoire was known not just in front of audiences, but behind the scenes as well. While becoming a force onstage, she was also a prominent producer, casting agent, and founded the theater group “Amas,” which was created to add diversity in stage plays.
After “Amen” Rosetta continued to work both in front and behind the scenes. She was in “Maverick Square,” and appeared in an episode of “Cosby,” but she’s best known as Estelle Winslow, Carl Winslow’s mother on “Family Matters.” Sadly, in 2002 she died at the age of 90, but not before being awarded the National Media Arts award, and had an award named after her for her pursuits of trying to get equal acting opportunities for people of color from the Actor’s Equality Association.
Montrose Hagins as Leola Forbes (the sequel)
When Rosetta LeNoire left “Amen” to play Estelle in “Family Matters,” it was up to her good friend Montrose Hagins to take her place.
After “Amen” Ms. Hagins continued to work in the industry, appearing in viewer favorites like “Roc,” “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper,” “Homefront,” “Touched by an Angel,” “Sister, Sister,” “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Seinfeld,” “The Jamie Foxx Show,” and had a prominent role in “The Famous Jett Jackson.” She retired from acting in 2005, and spent her last years with her family in Pennsylvania before her death in 2012.