“A Different World” Star, Lou Myers, Dead At 77

Lou Myers, the 77-year-old actor recognized for portraying "The Pit" restaurant owner, Vernon Gaines on NBC’s hit '80s sitcom A Different World, passed away Wednesday at Charleston Medical Center in West Virginia. Myers had checked into the hospital to undergo a heart-related procedure, but fell into a coma after his heart stopped.

Originally developed as a spinoff vehicle for The Cosby Show's Lisa Bonet, A Different World spent six seasons between 1987 and 1993 following the students at fictional-HBCU Hillman College. Playing Mr. Gaines, the affable, wise-cracking and follicly challenged mentor to Hillman’s students, was the defining role of Myers’ television, film and stage career. Gaines also stood out as the senior cast member in the ensemble of young black actors.

Throughout his lengthy career, Myers also earned acclaim for less heralded roles on Broadway including “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – African-American Style," “Oprah Winfrey’s The Color Purple” and won a NAACP “Best Actor” award for playing the Stool Pigeon in August Wilson’s play, “King Hedley II.” On February 1st, Myers' final film, Dreams, was released. Myers made his mark in this world, and in A Different World. On Wednesday, he moved on to the next one. R.I.P and enjoy that cabin in the sky.

Back to top