The list consists of 8 of Africa’s finest actors and actresses who have lost their lives. First on the list is:
Artimus Lamont Bentley
Artimus Lamont Bentley (Oct. 25, 1973 – Jan. 19, 2005) was an African-American television and film actor. He is known for his roles as Hakeem Campbell on Moesha, Rashad in South Central, and Crazy K in Tales from the Hood.
With a promising acting career on the horizon Bentley was killed in a single-car accident in southern California’s Ventura County. He was ejected from the vehicle into traffic where five cars struck him before help could arrive.
Actress Shirley Hemphill (July 1, 1947 – Dec. 10, 1999) was known for her role as Shirley Wilson in the ’70s television sitcom What’s Happening!! She died of kidney failure at 50 years old. It was nearly two weeks before her body was discovered in her home.
Keven A. “Dino” Conner (Nov. 18, 1974 – Jan. 28, 2003 ) was the lead singer of the R&B group H-Town. The group rose to prominence in the early ’90s with their smash hit, Knockin The Boots.
The 28-year-old singer was killed along with his girlfriend in a car accident. The couple had just left the studio when their vehicle was struck by a SUV that ran a red light.
Manute Bol (Oct. 16, 1962 – June 19, 2010) was a Sudanese-born basketball player and political activist. At 7 foot 7 inches tall, he was a giant among giants, one of the tallest men ever to play in the National Basketball Association.
Through his humanitarian efforts, the basketball star was also a towering symbol of hope in his native country. He came close to bankruptcy when he dedicated his NBA earnings to alleviate poverty in Sudan.
The former 76ers center died at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, where he was being treated for acute kidney failure and a skin disease, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. He was 48 years old.
Wylie Draper ( May 5, 1969 – Dec. 20 1993) was the actor who portrayed iconic pop star Michael Jackson in the television mini-series, The Jacksons: An American Dream.
Draper died at 24 from a rare form of leukemia, a year after the program aired.
Tara Correa-McMullen (May 24, 1989–Oct. 21, 2005) was the stage name of Shalvah McMullen, an actress who was known for a recurring role as gang member Graciela Reyes on the CBS television series, Judging Amy. In 2005, she co-starred in her first movie, Rebound, alongside Martin Lawrence.
Despite a healthy income earned from Judging Amy, Correa-McMullen quit the show for what some suspect was her real-life street gang involvement.
Ironically, the actress was gunned down at the age of 16, outside an apartment complex in Inglewood, Calif., in what police believed to be a gang-related shooting.
Fred “Rerun” Berry
Fred “Rerun” Berry (March 19, 1951 – Oct. 21, 2003) was an actor best known for the role of Fred “Rerun” Stubbs on the popular 1970s television show What’s Happening!!
During the 1980s, Berry battled drug addiction and alcoholism. He revived the character of Rerun in the series What’s Happening Now!!, but would only appear on that show for a year.
During the 1990s, Berry became a Baptist minister and lost 100 pounds after he was diagnosed with diabetes. He was married six times to four different women.
Berry died at his Los Angeles home where he was recovering from a stroke. He was 52.
Merlin Santana (March 14, 1976 – Nov. 9, 2002), was an Afro-Latino television actor best known for his role as teenager Romeo on The Steve Harvey Show. He also played Rudy’s boyfriend Stanley on The Cosby Show.
Santana died after being shot in the head while sitting in the passenger seat of a friend’s car. He was 26 years old.
A police officer involved in the case testified that Santana was killed because the shooter’s girlfriend, age 15 at the time, falsely claimed that the actor had tried to rape her.