The Huxtables of "The Cosby Show" lived on in "A Different World," the NBC comedy's 1987 spinoff that followed Cliff (Bill Cosby) and Clair's (Phylicia Rashad) daughter Denise (Lisa Bonet) to the fictional historically black Hillman College.
"A Different World" went on for six seasons (though it saw Bonet, Marisa Tomei and Loretta DeVine depart after its debut season) and ended on July 9, 1993, 20 years ago today. Despite the shake-up, the show lived on with leading man Dwayne Wayne (Kadeem Hardison) and his flip-up glasses and Whitley Gilbert (Jasmine Guy) and her whiny southern drawl.
The series ended with Dwayne and Whitley getting married and announcing that they were expecting their first child in the finale. When asked where they thought the happy couple would be now, Guy told Essence in late 2012, "I think they’d still be married. I think they’d have a son and he’d be in early adulthood ... A happy marriage ... but after 20 years, I think some conflict coming up now that their son is gone and they’re less focused on him." Hardison added, "I think four kids in. Still married. Still fighting. Upper middle class probably. Still in love."
Wayne and Guy have both continued to act in the two decades that have passed since the show ended. Guy can currently be seen on The CW's "The Vampire Diaries" as Bonnie's (Kat Graham) bewitching grandma and Hardison is finishing up his run as an actor playing an LAPD detective on The CW's show-within-a-show "Cult."
But aside from the ups and downs of Whitley and Dwayne's relationship, "A Different World" tackled important racial issues and saw a bevy of now famous faces in the process. From Halle Berry to Tupac to Dean Cain, check out "A Different World's" legendary guest stars below.
Before she won an Oscar, Berry appeared in a Season 4 episode of "A Different World" as Jaclyn, Ron's (Darryl M. Bell) unknowing girlfriend on the side. (Check out a clip of her episode <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBjBsvTUKoc" target="_blank">here</a>.)
In one of his first TV appearances, Cain played Virginia A&M student Eddie in a heated Season 5 episode titled "The Cat's in the Cradle." In the episode, Cain's character got in a fight with Ron and Dwayne after they attempted to spray-paint the n-word on Ron's car. All parties involved ended up in jail with "A Different World" depicting the racially-charged storyline from both the white and black students' perspectives. You can <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7L-VsUxFoo" target="_blank">watch the episode here</a>.
Then simply Jada Pinkett, the young actress recurred in "A Different World's" fourth and fifth seasons before becoming a regular in the last season. Her character Lena was Gina (Ajai Sanders) and Charmaine's (Karen Malina White) roommate, who had a tryst with a very famous rapper. And no, it was not Will Smith ...
That's right. Tupac Shakur played Piccolo, Lena's high-school boyfriend who wanted to reconcile their relationship in one of the final episodes of "A Different World" (one of three that only aired in syndication), "Homie, Don't Ya Know Me?" You can watch it <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw4fkSN1rNI" target="_blank">here</a>.
"A Different World" was one of the first TV shows to address the AIDS epidemic and it did so with the help of Whoopi Goldberg in its fourth season. In the episode, titled "If I Should Die Before I Wake," a Hillman student named Josie (Tisha Campbell-Martin) reveals in front of a class -- conducted by Goldberg's Dr. Jordan -- that she has the disease and will probably die shortly after graduating college. You can watch the emotional episode <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlcFCoUdEGA" target="_blank">here</a>.
David Alan Grier
Another famous face played a professor at Hillman. In a Season 1 episode, Grier played Professor Byron Walcott, Denise's geology teacher whom she had a crush on, unbeknownst to him. (Check out "Romancing Mr. Stone" <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5OOXuulJtw" target="_blank">here</a>.)
Marisa Tomei played Denise and Jaleesa's (Dawnn Lewis) roommate Maggie, a military brat and one of the few white Hillman students, in the first season of "A Different World." But after Season 1, she was inexplicably replaced by Cree Summer, who played student activist turned lawyer Freddie Brooks. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnP5HDhatE8" target="_blank">Check Tomei out in the pilot of "A Different World" here</a>.
After he appeared in two one-off roles on "The Cosby Show," Sinbad won the role of Hillman's Coach Walter Oakes, who was also a dorm director, on "A Different World." He recurred in Season 1 and joined the cast as a regular from Seasons 2-5, when his character left after he and Jaleesa broke off their wedding at the altar. Check him out on the show <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ihs6Kpv0MQo" target="_blank">here</a>.
Legendary Grammy-winning singer Patti LaBelle recurred throughout "A Different World" as Dwayne's mother, who was very overprotective and didn't exactly get along with Marion Gilbert (Diahann Carroll), her eventual in-law. Check her out on the show <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvDuYSru2Es" target="_blank">here</a>.
After Season 5 of "A Different World" ended with Whitley and Dwayne's wedding, Season 6 kicked off with the couple telling their friends about their honeymoon in LA, during which the 1992 LA riots broke out after the white police officers who were on trial for the videotaped beating of Rodney King were acquitted. Gilbert Gottfried made a cameo as a police officer in LA who gave Dwayne a hard time. (Watch <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcCbAJi-uIk" target="_blank">here</a>.)
Roseanne Barr & Tom Arnold
The then-married Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold also appeared in the Season 6 premiere of "A Different World" as looters during the LA riots who Whitley tried to avoid by pretending to be a mannequin. (Watch them <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcCbAJi-uIk" target="_blank">here</a>.)
Before he was natural guyliner Richard Alpert on "Lost," Sheriff Romero on "Bates Motel" or Mayor Garcia in the "Dark Knight" movies, Nestor Carbonell appeared in a double-episode of "A Different World" as Malik Velasquez, Whitley's mother's hired boyfriend. Check him out in his greasy-haired glory <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpFk45UnZwM" target="_blank">here</a>.
Before she went on to star on "Boston Public" and "Grey's Anatomy," Loretta DeVine played Stevie Rallen, the graduate student dorm director of Gilbert Hall, where Denise, Whitley, et al. lived. After Season 1, DeVine was replaced by Mary Alice, who played Lettie Bostic for a season, but then also disappeared after Season 2. Watch DeVine give one of her earlier stern talking to's on "A Different World" <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk6x7yrMSB0" target="_blank">here</a>.
CORRECTION: A previous caption in the slideshow above misstated that Dean Cain's character was a Texas A&M student; the character was a Virginia A&M student.