Articles about Telma
biography and what she thinks about Family Matters, 1993
biography and what she thinks about Family Matters, 1993
Rachel Crawford's stay in her sister Harriette Winslow's home was supposed to be temporary. She turned to the emotional support of the Winslow family following the death of her husband. But after three seasons on the air, it's hard to picture the Winslow household without the warm, funny, and energetic presence of Rachel.
The reason for this, of course, is the multitalented singer/actress Telma Hopkins. She brings high energy and a strong positive life force to the character each week on Family Matters.
"The show works so well because we (the cast) really believe in each other," explains Telma. "We've become close and care for each other. Each of us gets to display our talents." Telma certainly has many different talents to display.
She began her performing career as a backup singer for such superstars as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Wilson Pickett, Issac Hayes, Dionne Warwick, and the Four Tops.
"If you lived in Detroit," says Telma, "and you didn't work for GM, Ford, or Chrysler, you worked for Motown." Motown is the name of a famous music company that produced such stars as the Jackson Five, Diana Ross and the Supremes, and the Temptations.
She went on to greater success in the 1970s as a member of the singing group Tony Orlando and Dawn. The group had a series of hit records and starred in a TV variety show that ran for four years.
Telma made her television acting debut as Daisy in the ground-breaking mini-series Roots: The Next Generation. From there she went on to star in Bosom Buddies with Tom Hanks, The New Odd Couple, and Gimme A Break. She also appeared in the feature films Vital Signs, Trancers, and Pulse Pounders.
Telma Hopkins has been successful in both the music and acting fields. Which does she prefer? "I've found that acting suits me better the older I get," she reveals. "The lifestyle is more normal than being on the road (a common situation for musicians). I like going home every day. I need that stability."
Telma believes the character of Rachel is closer to her own personality than any other role shes ever played. "She's a single parent like me" - Telma has a 20-year-old son in college - "she's very earthy very worldly. I love kids, and Rachel has a lot of kid in her, and more than a little bit of comedienne."
Telmas comedic inspirations growing up were Carol Burnett, whom she idolized, and Pearl Bailey, whom she calls "A lady of great attitude."
Telma is quick to say what a great experience Family Matters continues to be for her. "All of us in Family Matters really work hard to make it a family show that really is about a family. There's something for everyone because we have three generations under one roof. And we stick together."
Off the set, Telma enjoys cooking, reading, and collecting antiques. When asked what she'd like to do in the future, Telma replies, "I want to do everything under the rainbow, from singing and acting, to comedy and drama."
When Telma was growing up, her grandmother used to tell her she'd better get serious about her life because she'd never make a living being silly. Fortunately for Family Matters' fans, Grandma was wrong!
Characters: Telma Hopkins (Isabelle
Hammond, "Bosom Buddies")
Telma Hopkins first entered the limelight as part of the singing trio Tony Orlando and Dawn. Their single, "Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Old Oak Tree" was one of the biggest sellers of the '70s. Variety shows were hot in the middle of that decade, and "The Tony Orlando and Dawn Show" debuted in 1974. It made a brief resurgence in 1976 as "The Tony Orlando and Dawn Rainbow Hour" before fading into the sunset.
Hopkins remained a shining star, and found herself in two more series ("Roots: The Next Generation" and "A New Kind Of Family") before accepting the part of the sassy Isabelle on classic sit-com "Bosom Buddies" in 1980. When that had run its course, she took the part of Nell's best friend Addy on "Gimme A Break" while also performing in TV movies and other one-off guest spots.
Five years as Aunt Rachel on "Family Matters" would keep her busy until 1993, when she exited to co-star with Cindy Williams in "Getting By." "Getting By" didn't....and Hopkins went back to guest spots and TV movies.
Interview with Telma Hopkins, November 12, 2003
Hopkins's Unsolved Mysteries
You may know her as bitter divorcée Phyllis Thorne on UPN's Half & Half, or as Nell Carter's skinny sidekick on Gimme a Break, but way back in the day, Telma Hopkins was also one-third of the music group Tony Orlando & Dawn ("Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Ole Oak Tree"). Remember the "Shaft" theme song? And the part where the girls go, "Shut yo' mouth"? Yep, that's her, too. We took a walk down memory lane with the actress who slipped into our pop culture lexicon without us even knowing it.
TV Guide Online: So, do you work
a sassy "shut yo' mouth" into casual
TVGO: What about the
hit "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Ole Oak Tree"
which came first, the song or the tying of the
TVGO: Shut up!
TVGO: I looked you up
online: Bosom Buddies, Gimme
a Break and Family Matters.
You're a pop culture trivia nut's dream!
TVGO: Am I crazy, or
were you on the Circus of the Stars
TVGO: What did you do
on Battle of the Network Stars?
TVGO: And you
voluntarily got rope burn because...
TVGO: Do you think you
could get your Half & Half
castmates to do something like that?
Telma Hopkins plays
Phyllis, Mona's mother who raised her as a single parent,
in UPN's comedy series HALF AND HALF.
Did You Know:
This song is from the episode "The
Good, the Bad, and the Urkel" (No. 46/1991) rachel.mp2 (1,48 MB)
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