Raven Symone is known to millions of TV viewers from her years as Olivia
on the long-running NBC sitcom "The Cosby Show" and for playing Nicole
on ABC's "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper."
But the young actress is also a singer who has performed the national
anthem at sporting events and has just issued her second LP, featuring
rap and soul music.
Raven Symone Peerman was born Dec. 10, 1985, in Atlanta. She started
modeling at age 2 and got jobs in local print ads. Symone's family moved
to New York after the Ford Modeling Agency expressed interest in her
Symone began starring in TV commercials for such products as Ritz Crackers,
Cool Whip and Jell-O. When she was 3, Symone auditioned for a role in the
Bill Cosby movie "Ghost Dad," which Sidney Poitier directed. Though she
didn't get the role, Cosby tapped her to join his TV show as his
She also appeared in Alex Haley's miniseries "Queen" and was nominated
for the NAACP's Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a TV Series.
Her next regular role was in "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper." Then, at age 5,
Symone became the youngest person ever to sign a recording contract with
MCA Records. Her debut, Here's to New Dreams, mixed pop, soul and
rap, and featured the single "That's What Little Girls Are Made Of."
Symone continued her TV appearances on "Sesame Street," "A Different World"
and "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" (with Will Smith). She became the youngest
host in the history of NBC's "Friday Night Videos" and also introduced
clips on the network's "Saturday Morning Videos."
She has also been involved in many philanthropic activities for such
organizations as the National Safe Kids Campaign, the Children's Museum
of Manhattan and D.A.R.E. Symone received the First Annual Juvenile
Products Manufacturers Association Award for contributions to the assistance
of needy children.
Last year, she co-starred with Eddie Murphy in the theatrical remake of
"Doctor Dolittle." She also headlined the "Kids Jam USA Tour."
Earlier this year, Symone issued Undeniable on PolyGram Records.
In addition to the single "With a Child's Heart," the disc includes such
tracks as "Hip Hoppers," "I Can Get Down" and "Lean on Me." The album
mixes ballads, pop, soul and rap music.
Other birthdays on Friday: Chad Stuart (Chad and Jeremy), 56; Chris "Ace"
Kefford (the Move), 53; Ralph Tavares (Tavares), 51; Jessica Cleaves
(Friends of Distinction), 51; Nia Peeples, 38; J Mascis, 34; Timothy
Christian Riley (Tony! Toni! Toné!), 33; and Scot Alexander