I was an 80s teen and I love covering all things Generation X!
227 is a TV sitcom that aired on NBC between 1985 and 1990. The show starred actress Marla Gibbs, who was fresh off of her infamous stint as maid Florence Johnston from another iconic classic TV sitcom, The Jefferson's.
In her role on 227, Gibbs played the quick-witted housewife and gossip hound Mary Jenkins, alongside Jackee Harry, Hal Williams, Alaina Reed Hall, and a teenage Regina King.
The show is remembered by fans all over the country. Many folks have wondered what ever happened to the cast of 227, so here's the scoop.
Marla Gibbs as "Mary Jenkins"
Marla Gibbs is the star of 227, and her character "Mary Jenkins" is the central figure. It was almost as if Gibbs' previous character, "Florence Johnston," had eventually left the Jefferson household to get married and become a mother. Jenkins and Johnston were nearly one in the same. They had the same sarcasm and dry wit, and audiences ate it up!
After 227 ended in 1990, Marla Gibbs went on to many guest starring roles throughout the decade. One memorable role was when she guest starred on Martin Lawrence's show, Martin, as "Minnie, the Housekeeper from Hell."
At the end of the decade, Gibbs secured a long standing role on The Hughley's. She started the 2000s strong with multiple roles on various TV shows, and then she struck gold again with a stint on the daytime TV soap opera Passions.
The actress came into the 2010s with even more strength as she scored yet another multi-episode story arc on The First Family. Since that time, she's shown absolutely no sign of slowing down as she is currently working on three unreleased and unrelated television projects.
Marla Gibbs married her high school sweetheart, and the couple had three children together. Her husband, Jordan Gibbs, died in 1973, and she never remarried.
Jackee Harry as "Sandra Clark"
One of the things that stood out the most about 227 was the animated way that Jackee Harry's character, Sandra, belted out the name "Maaaaaree" when she called on her neighbor, Mary Jenkins.
Sandra Clark was the man-hungry, ego-inflated, but still likeable neighbor to the Jenkins household. Even though her entries were laced with shenanigans, we didn't mind Sandra. She kept things fun and lively.
Much like her co-star Marla Gibbs, when 227 wrapped Harry has stayed constantly working. She scored a role on The Royal Family alongside comedy legends Redd Fox and Della Reese. She went on to a starring role in her hallmark runaway hit show Sister Sister in the mid 90s.
In the 2000s, Harry enjoyed success on Chris Rock's Everybody Hates Chris. She ended out the decade with a multiple-episode role on the sitcom Let's Stay Together.
In the 2010s, she joined Marla Gibbs on The First Family, and she ended out the decade with a stint on the popular hit show The Paynes.
In 2019, Harry appeared alongside her former cast members Marla Gibbs and Hal Williams on a comedy sketch show that played homage to 227. The show is called A Black Lady Sketch Show: 227: The Reboot.
Most recently, Harry can be seen guest starring in a four-episode story arc on the daytime TV drama The Days of Our Lives (Who knew this was still on TV?).
She is currently in post-production on a film called HeadShop, alongside Marla Gibbs, Michael Jai White, Keith David, Loretta Devine, Nicole Ari Parker, and Kimberly Elise, with an anticipated release time frame of Summer 2021.
Jackee Harry has been married twice, once to famed bass guitarist and conductor Jerry Jemmott. She has one adopted son and a grandson, and she is single.
Hal Williams as "Lester Jenkins"
Most of us Generation Xers remember Hal Williams from way back as Officer Smitty from Sanford and Son and the hard driving Sargent Ross from Private Benjamin (the 80s TV show based off of the movie by the same name).
On 227, Williams played Lester Jenkins, the calm to Mary Jenkins', and the rest of the wild cast's, storm. After the show ended, Williams almost immediately landed a multi-episode role on The Sinbad Show.
He spent the rest of the 90s making several guest stops on Tales From the Crypt, Suddenly Susan, and Moesha before landing a role in the film Guess Who (2005), opposite Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher.
He joined Marla Gibbs and Jackee Harry on one episode of The First Family in 2013, after which he made sparse appearances over the years in a few series.
He joined his fellow co-stars once more in A Black Lady Sketch Show, revising his 227 character, and his latest gig is a voice acting role in a video game called Disintegration (2020).
Williams has three children and was married twice. Today he is single, and he has been single since the early 1980s.
Helen Martin as "Pearl Shay"
Helen Martin's stint on 227 is reminiscent of her famous previous role as "Weeping Wanda" on Good Times, because once again she plays the nosy neighbor.
Pearl Shay was the name of the character Martin played on 227, and she could usually be found sitting at her window meddling in the affairs of her building neighbors and the neighborhood overall.
Pearl was indeed nosy, but she was well-loved in her community. Unlike most of her co-stars, after 227 came to an end, Martin received more recognition in film roles than in TV guest starring spots.
While she did enjoy parts on popular 90s TV shows like The The Parent 'Hood and The Jamie Foxx Show, the actress had several memorable cameos in 90s films like Beverly Hills Cop III (1994), Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996), Bullworth (1998) and I Got the Hook-UP (1998).
Martin never married, and she never had children. The actress died of a heart attack on March 25, 2000, in Monterey, California. She was 90 years old.
Much like the characters she was typecast to play, she was a feisty woman, but those who knew her and knew of her remember her with warm regards.
Alaina Reed-Hall as "Rose Holloway"
Alaina Reed-Hall was another familiar face to us before she came to 227. We knew her as Olivia, Gordon's sister from Sesame Street.
On 227, Reed-Hall played Rose, Mary's neighbor and best friend. Rose was usually the voice of reason amongst the women in the building.
An interesting fact is that Reed-Hall continued her role on Sesame Street the entire time she was on 227, so after the show ended, her appearances on the PBS series simply amped up.
A couple of years later, she guest-starred on her husband's TV sitcom, Harry and the Henderson's. She lent her voice to several animated series before landing multi-episode guest spots on Cleghorne!, Ally McBeal, and Any Day Now.
The actress was married three times, and she had two children with her first husband. Actor Kevin Peter Hall was was her second husband, and they stayed together until his death from AIDS-related complications.
Her third husband was Afghan-American director, screenwriter, and producer Tamim Amini, whom she married in 2008, with Gibbs and Harry by her side. Sadly, the next year, Reed-Hall succumbed to breast cancer. She passed away on December 17, 2009.
Kia Goodwin as "Tiffany Holloway"
Kia Goodwin played Tiffany Holloway, Rose's daugther and Brenda's best friend. In that role, Tiffany was somewhat like a little sister to Brenda, and her character never had time to develop.
Godwin's mother didn't like California, and she wanted to go back to their native New York, so they let her out of her contract and wrote her out of the storyline after the first season.
As for Kia, she returned to Hollywood a couple of years later and she immediately landed a few roles here and there, including a minor role in the Erika Christensen obsession flick Swimfan (2002).
She hit paydirt with a multi-episode role in the TV series Platinum in 2003, and from there she moved on to do the same with Barbershop, The Good Wife, and Law and Order SVU. Her last role to date is an episode of the series The Code in 2019.
Curtis Baldwin as "Calvin Dobbs"
Curtis Baldwin played Calvin, the boy that Mary's daugther Brenda constantly swooned over. Calvin was the basic boy next door who couldn't wait to get next to Brenda every chance he got.
After 227 wrapped, Baldwin went on to an episode of Moesha, a hand full of guest spots on magazine style shows that offered a retrospective of 227, and the aforementioned A Black Lady Sketch Show in 2019. That was basically it for him as far as acting is concerned.
Today, he has a beautiful wife and kids, he operates a recording studio where he produces under the name of RahRizo, and he performs stand-up comedy.
Regina King as "Brenda Jenkins"
Regina King played Mary & Lester's daughter Brenda. Brenda was smart, pretty, and a little bit boy crazy, but she was studious and was always into her books when she wasn't obsessing over Calvin.
King is the absolute breakout star of 227. She is an accomplished actress with 54 credits to her name, many of them starring roles on enduring TV series and prominent film roles.
King is also a director and producer, and in 2019, she took home the coveted Academy Award (Oscar) for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in If Beale Street Could Talk (2019).
She currently stars in the sci-fi TV mini-series Watchmen, and she's also wrapping up a film called The Harder They Fall (2021), where she stars alongside Idris Elba, Delroy Lindo, and LaKeith Stanfield
King was married to Ian Alexander from 1997 to 2007, and she had one son. King's star is white hot and it shows no signs of burning out anytime soon.
fran rooks from Toledo, Ohio on March 08, 2021:
Rachelle, thanks for your article!. I don't think I've ever watched them so I missed a good thing. I love remembering when themes.
Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on March 08, 2021:
I absolutely love Regina King. She is truly a queen in Hollywood. You are so right about her star not burning out any time soon. She is a boss.