Question: Please settle a bet for me. I say that Marisa Tomei of My Cousin Vinny starred in the first season of A Different World, a short-lived series that ran just after The Cosby Show in the 1980s. I've been debating this with my husband for years and I'd love to settle this once and for all! Respectfully, Michelle Leclerc
Televisionary: Then settle it we shall, Michelle. And you, like Christina above, may thumb your nose at hubby over your morning java.
As you say, Ms. Tomei, who picked up a Best Supporting Actress statue for her work in Vinny, played sunny-outlook Hillman College coed Maggie Lauten in the series's first season (1987-88). Interestingly enough, series star Lisa Bonet, whose Denise Huxtable was the link to the high-flying Cosby Show and the reason for World's existence, left at the same time.
What should have been a death blow for the show was nothing of the sort. Rather than being short-lived, it pulled former supporting player Jasmine Guy into the limelight and stayed on NBC's schedule for five years.
If your husband still doesn't believe us, point him (or your VCR) toward TBS's morning slate, where the Tomei episodes often appear as part of a double-airing of the show.