Dawnn Lewis is an American actress and singer. She is best known for her roles as Jessica Vinson-Taylor on the sitcom A Different World (for which she co-wrote the theme song), as Robin Dumars on the sitcom Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, and as Cheryl Spade in the 1988 film I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.
Dawnn Lewis was born on August 13, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York to Carl and Joyce Lewis. Lewis began singing at the age of four and began acting at eleven. She graduated from the High School of Music and Art (nw called the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School) at sixteen. After high school, she studied at the University of Miami, graduating cum laude with a major in Musical Theater and a minor in Journalism in 1982.
A Different World
Dawnn co-wrote the theme song to A Different World, with Bill Cosby and Stu Gardner, and co-performed the song for the first season. In A Different World, Lewis appeared for the first five seasons as Jaleesa Vinson from 1978 to 1992. Although her character was married to a main character on the show her character disappeared from A Different World without explanation.
Hangin' With Mr. Cooper
In Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, Lewis appeared in the first of the five seasons as Robin Dumars. She and Holly Robinson Pete, along with R&B quartet En Vogue, performed the theme song for season one of Mr. Cooper.
Lewis portrayed Deloris Van Carter in Peter Schneider's Sister Act the Musical, which opened at the Pasadena Playhouse on October 4, 2006.
Aside from voicing Terri Lee in Spider-Man: The Animated Series she has voiced Storm on three X-Men video games. She also voiced Granny Grim on The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, and the voice of the female Shokan in Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm. Lewis has also done voice work on Futurama and a number of characters on The Boondocks.
2006 - Present
In 2006, Lewis starred as Melba Early in the film adaptation of Dreamgirls and released her debut CD, entitled Worth Waiting For. She most recently played Addaperle in The Wiz.
In 2009, she played Denise Fields on One Tree Hill. In 2010, Lewis played a minor recurring role as Lauren's mother in The Secret Life of the American Teenager. In 2012, she voiced Malora in Strange Fame. She also appeared as Dr. Knapp on Days of Our Lives in 2012 - 2013.
As of 2015, Lewis is playing a recurring role on Major Crimes as Patrice.
Dawnn Lewis was married to former NBA player Johnny Newman from 2004 until 2006.