Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Whatever Happened To The Cast Of House Party?

In 1990, a little movie starring several hip-hop acts made a huge impression on the movie-going public. That movie, "House Party," spawned several sequels and a host of imitators. Plot-wise, it's like any other film where a teenager hosts a party full of whacky hijinks while parents are out of town. But as noted in The Ringer's retrospective of the film for its 30th anniversary in 2020, it "isn't just one of the most important black films ever made — it's one of the most important films of the late 20th century, a movie that showed Hollywood the breadth of the black experience, and the immense interest in it."

"House Party" grew from a student film director Reginald Hudlin made at Harvard University. Starring popular rappers Kid 'n Play, "House Party" features Kid doing his best to get to Play's party — on a school night, no less! — while avoiding several obstacles, including his angry dad. The film was a hit, grossing over $26 million, made huge stars out of several of its then-unknown cast members, and provided an enduring legacy for black cinema. Both Reginald and his older brother, producer Warrington Hudlin, make cameos as a pair of burglars. Though some of the references in the film are cringey at best, the rest is, as Roger Ebert said at the time, filled with "exuberance."

While we wait for the planned LeBron James-produced remake of "House Party" to hit the silver screen, let's catch up with the cast.

Christopher Reid as Kid

Kid 'n Play were already a popular hip hop act when they starred in "House Party," and the film opened up new creative avenues. The duo, with their positive lyrics and clean-cut appearance, were perfect for the buoyant vibe of "House Party." As Christopher "Kid" Harris, Christopher "Kid" Reid was the ostensible star of the film — the young protagonist with the signature extreme high-top fade whose travails on his way to his friend Play's party propel the action.

After the film, Kid pursued an acting career both in front of and behind the camera — and not just in the "House Party" sequels and in "Class Act," which also stars Play. For example, Kid appeared on the sitcom "Sister, Sister," voiced a few characters in two episodes of the Adult Swim animated series, "Black Dynamite," and has provided voices in video games.

He's also hosted shows, including "Your Big Break" and "Showtime at the Apollo," and branched out into stand-up comedy — not a big stretch, given his long friendship with comedian Bill Maher. Kid was a frequent guest on Maher's first talk show, "Politically Incorrect," and composed the theme song for Maher's HBO Show, "Real Time with Bill Maher," along with producers Buster & Shavoni. Maher jump-started Kid's stand-up by letting him do a brief set on "Real Time." Kid is also active on social media, including on Twitter and Instagram, and still performs music. He's been married since 2004 to Kimberly Turner. They have three children.

Christopher Martin as Play

Christopher "Play" Martin, the suave Peter "Play" Martin who hosts the party when his parents are out of town in "House Party," took a different path from his partner, Kid. Although he occasionally still performs with Kid and was part of some ventures with his former hip-hop partner, including the 1990 animated series, "Kid 'n Play," and a 1992 Marvel comic book series called "Kid'N Play" that ran for nine issues, Play has been more focused on behind-the-scenes work. 

Play became a born-again Christian in the mid-90's and produced Christian hip hop music, then moved into directing and film producing. He directed a documentary in 2007, "Welcome to Durham, USA," about Los Angeles-area gangs the Crips and Bloods branching out into Durham, North Carolina, and produced the documentary, "And iDanced," in 2018, which he recently discussed with CBS New York. Play went into business for himself as well, founding Playground Solutionz, a multimedia company.

The multi-talented, charismatic star still acts occasionally, with a recent role in the 2021 season of BET's series, "Bigger." Play was briefly married to actress Shari Headley, with whom he has one child. He also has one grandchild.

Paul Anthony George as Stab

Played by Paul Anthony George, known professionally as Paul Anthony, of hip-hop group Full Force, Stab is a buff bundle of revenge. He's the leader of the bullies and the one of his two brothers, Pee-Wee (Lucien "Bow-legged Lou" George Jr.) and Zilla (Brian "B-Fine" George), who most wants to destroy Kid in "House Party," though he's not quite as enthusiastically chaotic about it as his two siblings.

Anthony performed in Full Force with his brothers Bow-legged Lou, B-Fine, and cousins Hugh Junior "Shy Shy" Clark, Curt "Curt-T-T" Bedeau, and Gerry "Baby Gee" Charles. Anthony shares in the group's Grammys and multi-gold and platinum records. While Full Force had several of their own hits, they were also high-powered producers who have worked with Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam and UTFO (responsible for the 1984 mega-hit "Roxanne Roxanne"), among many, many others.

After the film, the group worked with Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, and James Brown. Anthony made sporadic acting appearances, including as a heckler on the television series "Martin" in 1995, but his focus apart from music is on physical fitness, as evidenced by his physique as Stab. In 2006, Anthony was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma, and eventually developed myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia. Thanks to a bone marrow transplant from his brother, Lou, Anthony is currently in remission, and works to raise money for cancer research through The Paul Anthony Foundation. He also does speaking engagements to help educate and uplift others.

Lucien Bowlegged Lou George Jr. as Pee-Wee and Brian B-Fine George as Zilla

As Stab's brothers Pee-Wee and Zilla, Lucien "Bowlegged Lou" George Jr. and Brian "B-Fine" George bring manic energy to the trio's exploits as they hunt Kid on his way to Play's party. They're the ones who want to make the most mayhem to get even.

After "House Party," Lou appeared in 1993's "Who's the Man?" as Forty (B-Fine also appeared as "Club Guy #1") and played Primus/Lord Primus in the web series, "Body Jumpers," from 2013-15. Acting didn't seem to be his primary passion, given how few roles he's taken, though all three brothers of Full Force are in "House Party 2."

In 2020, Lou made a video about his experiences in "House Party" for the movie's 30th anniversary, revealing how he came up with Pee-Wee's signature nasally voice and line about kicking Kid's butt (warning: some parts are NSFW). His influence has been felt far and wide — he's even a "personal hero" of The Roots' Questlove. Lou has two children with his ex-wife, Sharon; their son performs as Lou$tar. A diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa in 2012 led Lou to found Hope with a Vizion to help others with vision issues.

By contrast, B-Fine hasn't acted much, preferring to stay busy in music with his group Full Force. On Full Force World, B-Fine discusses how he came by his nickname, and not much else. Judging from his tone, he appears to be happily fulfilled with Full Force work.

Tisha Campbell as Sidney

Tisha Campbell's sweet Sidney is a highlight of "House Party," crushing on Kid even as her friend Sharane makes a play for him. The role garnered her a Film Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Female. She again played Sidney in "House Party 2" and "House Party 3." Campbell would later win awards for her role on the series, "My Wife and Kids."

Though Campbell had a steady acting career prior to "House Party" (most notably as Jane Toussaint in Spike Lee's 1988 film "School Daze"), she really hit it big reuniting with "House Party" co-star Martin Lawrence in "Martin," which ran from 1992-97. Campbell left the show in 1996, however, filing a sexual harassment lawsuit against Lawrence in 1997 that was ultimately settled out of court. Tensions resurfaced because of an interview Lawrence did with GQ Magazine, though it seems the two have made up. She also reunited on the show with her best friend, actress Tichina Arnold, who she first met auditioning when they were 12 years old.

Campbell also sings, releasing a self-titled album in 1993 and several separate singles since then, including one as a featured artist with Full Force in 2014. She continues to have a successful acting career, even voicing Tawny Young on the "Harley Quinn" animated series in 2019-20.

In 1996, Campbell married Duane Martin, with whom she has two children, and changed her name to Tisha Campbell-Martin. They divorced in 2020.

A. J. Johnson as Sharane

A. J. Johnson (sometimes billed as Adrienne-Joi Johnson) appears in "House Party" as Sharane, the self-possessed "girl from the projects" who knows what she wants and is unafraid to go for it. Johnson gave up being the choreographer for the Fly Girls on "In Living Color" in order to take the part, though she did get to choreograph the dance battle between Sharane and Sidney.

Johnson, who also appeared in "School Daze" as Cecilia, continued acting after "House Party," though she did not appear in the film's sequels. As she told BET, if she did reprise the role, Sharane would've been "a successful businesswoman, owning a clothing store boutique or being a hip-hop fitness dance teacher — still ghetto and still in the projects, but a savvy business woman because she just didn't take any s–t."

Johnson's career has included roles such as Lewanda in 1992's "Sister Act," and the voice of Debbie Jelly on Adult Swim's 2017 animated series, "The Jellies!" The actress been part of two award-winning ensembles, 1989's "A Mother's Courage: The Mary Thomas Story," and 2001's "Baby Boy." She also is into fitness, having worked out to get a role and posting a picture of her very cut abs in 2017. In addition to acting, Johnson is a life coach.

Martin Lawrence as Bilal

In "House Party," Martin Lawrence's Bilal has to contend with the disrespect Play gives his DJ equipment even as he's being pressured to provide free DJ services for Play's party, and the disrespect he gets from almost everyone because of his vicious case of halitosis. And don't get him started on Chill constantly bumping into his DJ table.

Lawrence's first role was in the 1995-88 TV show, "What's Happening Now!" and he also played Cee in Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing" in 1989. Post-"House Party," Lawrence's already popular stand-up comedy reached an even wider audience. He hosted the inaugural season of "Def Comedy Jam" in 1992, and his series "Martin" was a phenomenal success. One of his biggest films was 1995's "Bad Boys," co-starring Will Smith. That film and its two sequels combined have made more than $839 million.

Unfortunately, Lawrence has had some well-publicized personal struggles. He was banned from NBC programs in 1994 after making exceedingly rude jokes while hosting "Saturday Night Live." Besides being sued by Tisha Campbell in 1997, he's had several other problems, as detailed in The Washington Post. In 1999, he collapsed from heat exhaustion and was in a coma for three days. He went from popular to troubled in no time flat.

Fortunately, those days appear to be behind him, as he discussed with GQ Magazine in 2020. A fourth "Bad Boys" film has been announced.

John Witherspoon as Mr. Strickland

John Witherspoon appears as Play's nosy neighbor Mr. Strickland in "House Party." Mr. Strickland spends most of the film looking out his window yelling at the kids over their loud music, and arguing with his wife about his interest in the girls and their outfits. He's basically there to provide even more comic relief.

Already a stand-up comic, Witherspoon began acting in 1977 in uncredited roles on "The Richard Pryor" show, and soon, it was one indelible character after another, from Mr. Jones running the Winky Dinky Dog in Robert Townsend's "Hollywood Shuffle" in 1987 to a different Mr. Jones in 1995's "Friday." His role as Ice Cube's grumpy pops in the "Friday" films was one of his most memorable. He reprised it in the sequels "Next Friday" (2000) and "Friday After Next" (2002).

Witherspoon's long and varied career included voice acting in animated series such as "The Boondocks" (2005-14), on which he voiced Robert "Granddad" Freeman. He also had a show of his stand-up on the Showtime pay network in 2008. His humor, physicality, and distinctive sound made him one of Hollywood's best-loved character actors.

Witherspoon married Angela Robinson in 1988 and they had two children. Sadly, Witherspoon passed away in 2019 at age 77 from a heart attack. His last two roles were Lloyd, the cantankerous drunk, on Adult Swim's 2014-19 live-action series, "Black Jesus," and as Joe the Plumber in "Reality Queen!" which was released posthumously in 2020.

Barry Diamond and Michael Pniewski as Cop #1 and Cop #2

Throughout "House Party," two white cops stop most of the major characters and hassle them. Played by Barry Diamond and Michael Pniewski, they're only referred to as "Cop #1" and "Cop #2" in the credits, though Robin Harris' Pops reads their badge names as Boyd and what sounds like Warnoski. The two get their comeuppance in a mid-credits scene when the roof blown off the house in the film's opener flattens them.

Diamond was a stand-up comic with bit parts in several shows and films, and was a regular act on 1983's "The ½ Hour Comedy Hour." His biggest role was in 1984's "Bachelor Party" as Rudy, one of Rick's (Tom Hanks) friends. He played Cop #2 in "House Party 2," and appeared in 1993's series, "Townsend Television," which also featured John Witherspoon. Diamond's last role was in 2002 in an episode of "Teamo Supremo" as the voice of The Put Down Artist. He still performs stand-up, with tour dates listed on his personal website.

Pniewski has acted steadily before and after "House Party," frequently portraying officers, judges, and attorneys. He's one of the few actors who did not appear in the "House Party" sequels, instead booking roles in the "Law & Order" universe, and playing Frank Landau on both "The Good Wife" (2010-15) and "The Good Fight" (2018-20). He also played a Brandon Walker in the 2019 film, "Richard Jewell." With 170 acting credits and counting, Pniewski is one busy guy!

Gene Allen and Daryl Mitchell as Groove and Chill

One of the other hip-hop duos in "House Party" is Groove B Chill. Eugene Allen played Groove and Daryl Mitchell played Chill, two friends of Kid and Play. Groove gets so drunk at the party that he has to be helped home, and Chill keeps annoying Bilal by dancing into his DJ setup.

While both singers appeared in "House Party 2," Allen, who goes by Gene "Groove" Allen professionally, only appeared in the hits "Boomerang"  and "What's Love Got to Do with It." As he told Interrupted in 2015, it was Groove B Chill's story that was the basis for "House Party," though the duo wasn't famous enough to play the leads. Besides continuing to perform in hip hop, Allen has moved into voice acting.

Mitchell's first film role was in "House Party," and the acting bug never left him. He also appeared in "Boomerang," played Dexter Wilson on "The John Larroquette Show," was Tommy Webber in "Galaxy Quest," and played Leo Michaels on "Veronica's Closet." An accident in November 2000 left him paraplegic, but it didn't stop his career. He was Eli Goggins III on "Ed," Wendell on "Fear the Walking Dead," and Patton Plame on "NCIS: New Orleans." His acting on "Brothers" won him an Image Award in 2009. Mitchell has also served as an ambassador for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

George Clinton as D.J.

Though Martin Lawrence was the biggest star to come out of "House Party," George Clinton was the biggest one in it — despite only appearing in a cameo. Clinton plays the DJ at the wedding attended by Play's parents. He gives Kid a beat to rap over while Kid is trying to avoid Stab and his brothers.

Clinton came to prominence in the 1970's with Parliament-Funkadelic, and has also performed as a solo artist. One of his biggest hits is 1982's "Atomic Dog," which went to number one on the R&B charts. After "House Party," he also appeared in films such as "PCU"  and "Good Burger," on TV shows such as "The Bernie Mac Show," and has provided voices for characters such as DJ The Funktipus in the video game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," and King Quincy in the animated film, "Trolls World Tour."

Apart from his work as a producer, songwriter, and funkmaster, he's known for his colorful hair and outfits, his outsized personality, and his incalculable influence on other musicians, from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Tupac Shakur and beyond. Though he's had some hardships, including substance abuse, he's come out the other side as funky as ever, getting sober in 2019 and receiving a Lifetime Achievement Grammy that same year. He also creates artwork, including NFTs.

Kelly Jo Minter as LaDonna

Actress Kelly Jo Minter plays LaDonna in "House Party," one of the many girls grabbing Play's interest. She has some of the best reactions to Bilal's halitosis and Groove and Chill's weak attempts to hit on her.

Minter — billed simply as Kelly Minter early on — began her acting career with an appearance in the "Fame" television series, later getting smaller roles such as Lorrie in the 1985 film, "Mask." After "House Party," she had a slightly larger role in Wes Craven's "The People Under the Stairs" as Ruby Williams, the sister of main character Fool, played by Brandon Adams. She also appeared in an episode of "Martin" in 1993.

Although she has 43 acting credits, Minter's career slowed down in 1997, with her last role in the 2019 film, "Getting the Kinks Out." That same year, she appeared as herself in the documentary, "Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror," and is slated to be interviewed for two documentaries about Freddy Krueger, as Minter played Yvonne in 1989's "A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child." Given she's been part of two other documentaries because of her involvement in that film alone, it's not a stretch to say it's her most popular role.

Now retired from acting, Minter maintains a presence on social media such as Facebook, and was formerly the CEO and designer at KJO Bags. She married Georgio Allentini in 1992 and they have three sons.

Robin Harris as Pop

Comedian Robin Harris was on the verge of breaking big when he appeared as Pops, Kid's strict father, in "House Party." Pops forbids Kid to attend Play's party, given that it takes place on a school night and Kid has homework to do. Once he realizes Kid has sneaked out of the house, he angrily searches for him.

Harris' comedy was known for its explicit language and its side-splitting jokes. He had a small role as a bartender in "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" and a larger one as Sweet Dick Willie in "Do The Right Thing," as well as playing Jerome in Eddie Murphy's "Harlem Nights" that same year. Spike Lee cast him as Butterbean Jones in his 1990 film, "Mo' Better Blues," as well. A film based on his comedy routine about "Bébé's Kids" was set to be made into a film by the Hudlin Brothers with Harris starring.

Tragically, Harris died in 1990 at age 36 shortly after the releases of "House Party" and "Mo' Better Blues." His wife, Exetta, gave birth to their only child, Robin Harris Jr., six months later. His legacy continues, though, as "Bébé's Kids" was made into an animated film in 1992. In 2006, rare footage of Harris performing stand-up was released on video as "Robin Harris: Live from the Comedy Act Theater." The Chicago native is still fondly remembered and his death is marked with loving tributes.