Countess Vaughn

Countess Vaughn

Countess Vaughn

Actress and singer Countess Danielle Vaughn was born on August 8th 1978 in Nashville, Tennessee. She began performing as a child and was discovered by the legendary Smokey Robinson and signed his 21-year-old daughter LeToya to her label, Mijac Records.

Getting things done in Spore


In the 1990s, Vaughn guest starred on Thea, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, and Roc. Outside of television, she performed in the off-Broadway musical Mama, I Want to Sing! Part 3. In 1992, Vaughn released her first album, Countess, featuring a variety of songs, including dance music and R&B.Vaughn's breakthrough role was playing Kim Parker in the UPN sitcom Moesha. She co-starred on the show from 1996 to 1999. In 1998, Vaughn was honored with an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance in Moesha. In 1999, Vaughn starred in and also sung the theme song for the show's spin-off, The Parkers, opposite actress and comedian Mo'Nique. The series aired from 1999 until 2004. In film, she co-starred in Trippin (1999). In later years she guest starred on Cuts and Let's Stay Together.


In 2014, Vaughn began starring in the TV One reality series Hollywood Divas, alongside Golden Brooks, Lisa Wu, and Paula Jai Parker.

For nine years, first on Moesha and then on The Parkers, actress Countess Vaughn was a fixture of African-American living rooms, a star on the television programs that topped measures of black viewership. The youthful Vaughn mastered a broad, sassy style of comedy with deep roots in African-American performance traditions, portraying the boy-chasing Kim Parker and developing a set of trademark mannerisms that never grew old. Vaughn, who married Joseph James in 2002, is an example of child star who grew successfully into an adult career; she began performing when she was 10

When Vaughn was nine, someone—she didn't know who—sent a tape of her singing to the producers of television's Star Search program, and she was selected to appear on the show in 1988. Her rendition of the Dionne Warwick hit "What the World Needs Now" earned her the titles of junior vocalist champion and overall junior champion. She also had the presence of mind to mention during her performances that the situation comedy 227 was her favorite show, and that led to a year-long role on the program. Guest slots on Thea and on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air opposite Will Smith followed, as did recurring roles on Hangin' with Mr. Cooper and Roc. In 1992 Vaughn released an album entitled Countess on the Virgin label. The album featured a ballad, "Unconditionally," co-written by one of the leading vocal stars of the day, Michael Bolton. Executives had been trying to persuade her to record ever since her Star Search turn, but Vaughn waited until her voice was more mature.

Vaughn performed on the Today Show and various television specials, and she tried her hand at live theater with a role in the musical Mama, I Want to Sing, Part 2. In 1996 she made her big breakthrough as she was cast in the UPN series Moesha as Kim Parker, opposite teen star Brandy Norwood in the title role. The bubbly four-foot-ten Vaughn made the party girl Kim Parker an appealing character, impressing Entertainment Weekly critic Ken Tucker with her depiction of the character's "attempts to transcend her up-from-the-ghetto roots" with mangled pronunciations of words that she tried to give what she thought were classy inflections. Moesha remained a hit through the late 1990s, and Vaughn earned an NAACP Image Award for best supporting actress in a comedy series in 1998. Several other awards came her way, including a Proven Achievers Award from Los Angeles radio station KJLH in 2000, and a nomination for an International Black Comedy Award that same year.

The show made Vaughn a genuine star. She finished high school coursework with tutors, never attending school. "I don't regret that at all," she told McDaniel, pointing out that her parents had never pressured her to pursue television stardom. "We all have decisions to make, and I chose to make something out of my career." Crowds mobbed Vaughn and Norwood as they toured malls around the United States, making promotional appearances. "It was truly an ego booster," she told McDaniel, "although I didn't like my shirt getting torn, and my mom fell. It was an ego booster, but it got scary." The only downside, she went on, was dating: "It's genuinely hard to find someone who cares for me and not what I do." In addition to promotional appearances, Vaughn made time for benefits like one for Clean Slate '98, a Pittsburgh drug-awareness event.



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