Comic and actress Yvette Wilson, one of the stars of the 1990s UPN sitcom “Moesha,” died on Thursday at the age of 48 after a battle with cervical cancer. Wilson, who played Andell Wilkerson, the owner of neighborhood hang spot the Den on the sitcom starring singer Brandy, went on to play that same role on the “Moesha” spin-off “The Parkers.”
Wilson’s good friend, Jeffrey Pittle, confirmed the news that Wilson had passed in a statement on a website he set up to help raise funds for her treatment. “It is with a heavy heart that I can verify that Yvette passed away last evening after a lengthy and hard battle,” he wrote. “She was a fighter to the end, and her talent, humor and amazing friendship will be sorely missed. She will live on through her awesome body of work.”
Born on March 6, 1964, in Los Angeles, Wilson backed her way into acting by taking a friend’s dare to do stand-up comedy and then landing a spot on the short-lived sitcom “Thea.” That helped her book bit parts in movies including “House Party 2″ and its sequel, “Friday,” “Poetic Justice” and “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood.”
Those gigs won her the part of Wilkerson on “Moesha,” where she counseled her younger charge while keeping an eye on the kids at the Den. She parlayed that into a co-starring role alongside Mo’Nique on “The Parkers.”
When Wilson’s cancer crisis got serious after years of battles with kidney failure and kidney transplants, Pittle started a website to raise money for her treatment. Dubbing it the “Yvette Wilson CANCER SUCKS FUND,” the site had raised nearly 30 percent of its $50,000 goal at the time of her death.
A number of her friends and admirers tweeted tributes, including “Moesha” co-star Shar Jackson, who wrote, “F— Cancer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! … oh god … my heart is soooo unbelievably broken … I wanna thank all my tweeties for their prayers but god has chosen to take my sister Yvette home.”
Also weighing in was Jamie Foxx, who said, “God bless u Yvette Wilson. Tears in my eyes. Keep God laughing” and former Fugees singer Lauryn Hill, who wrote, “R.I.P. Yvette Wilson … Life is short, so cherish yours.”
A number of other actors/comedians also praised Wilson and offered condolences, including Cedric the Entertainer, Loni Love, Marlon Wayans and Roots drummer ?uestlove.