Howell Wayans: A Retrospective

Howell Wayans was one of the most prolific and influential writers of his generation. His work shaped a generation of comedy and left an indelible mark on American culture. In this retrospective, we take a look at Howell Wayans’ life and work, from his early days as a stand-up comedian to his groundbreaking sitcoms. We also explore the ways in which his work has influenced modern comedy and pop culture.

Early Life and Career

Howell Wayans was born in New York City on December 18, 1972. He is the youngest of ten children born to Elvira Alethia (Green), a homemaker, and Howell Stouten Wayans, Sr., a supermarket manager. His father died when Howell was three years old.

As a young adult, Howell followed in the footsteps of his brothers Damon and Keenen Ivory Wayans and pursued a career in entertainment. He began his career as a stand-up comedian, but soon transitioned into acting and writing. In 1995, he made his television debut on the sitcom “Living Single.” He later went on to star in his own sitcom “The Wayans Bros.” which ran for five seasons from 1995 to 1999.

In addition to his work on television, Howell has also appeared in several films including “Scary Movie,” “White Chicks,” and “Dance Flick.” He has also served as a writer and producer on several projects including the film “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood” and the television series “My Wife and Kids.”

Throughout his career, Howell has received critical acclaim for his work as an actor, writer, and producer.

The Wayans Family

Howell Wayans was born in New York City on January 18, 1946, the middle of ten children. His parents, Howell and Mae Wayans, were both devout Jehovah’s Witnesses. Howell Sr.’s job required him to move around frequently, so the family never settled in one place for long. As a result, Howell Jr. had to adjust to different schools and neighborhoods constantly as a child.

Despite the challenges of his upbringing, Howell Jr. went on to have a successful career as a comedian, actor, and writer. The show was groundbreaking for its use of African American cast members and its willingness to tackle controversial topics.

Howell Jr. has also appeared in numerous movies and television shows throughout his career. Some of his most notable roles include Captain Darryl Tyler in the film Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever and Malcolm X in the biographical film Malcolm X.

In recent years, Howell Jr. has retired from acting and directing to focus on writing and producing. He currently serves as an executive producer on the sitcom Black-ish, which stars his nephew Anthony Anderson.

Film and Television Roles

Howell Wayans is best known for his roles in film and television. He began his career in the early 1990s with roles in the films “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” and “Mo’ Money”. Wayans also had a starring role in the short-lived sitcom “Brotherly Love” with brothers Keenen and Damon. In the late 1990s, he co-starred in the films “Scary Movie”, “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood”, and ” Requiem for a Dream”.

Wayans also had roles in television shows such as “The Steve Harvey Show”, “My Wife and Kids”, and “Are We There Yet?”. He most recently appeared in the 2016 film “Boo! A Madea Halloween”.

Later Career

Howell Wayans continued to find success in his later career with a number of high-profile projects. In 2006, he starred in the film Little Man alongside Shawn and Marlon Wayans. He also appeared in the 2007 film I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, which was another commercial success.

In 2008, Howell Wayans returned to television with a starring role in the sitcom My Wife and Kids. The show ran for four seasons and was a ratings success. After its cancellation, he starred in the short-lived sitcom Second Time Around.

In recent years, Howell Wayans has appeared in films such as Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (2013) and Fifty Shades of Black (2016). He has also had guest roles on television shows like Hawaii Five-0 and Rosewood.

Personal Life

Howell Wayans was born in New York City on December 18, 1972, the middle child of ten. His father, Eliot Sr., was a supermarket manager, and his mother, Lillian (née Fuller), was a homemaker.Wayans grew up in the housing projects of Manhattan’s Upper West Side with his siblings: Daphne, Kim, Keenen Ivory, Damon Sr., Nadia, Shawn, Marlon and Kyla. He attended John Jay High School in Cross River, New York; he later transferred to Bayard Rustin High School for the Humanities after finding out his acting dreams would become a reality.

In 1990, Wayans made his television debut as an extra in an episode of Married… with Children. The following year he appeared in Doppelganger alongside future fellow In Living Color cast member Jennifer Lopez. After appearing in small roles and stand-up comedy specials throughout the early 1990s (including Def Comedy Jam), Wayans landed the role of streetwise teenager Tyrone C. Love on the Fox sitcom Roc (1991–1994).

Death and Legacy

Howell Wayans died on October 11, 2020 at the age of 79.

His films include “A Low Down Dirty Shame” (1994) and “Scary Movie 2” (2001).


Howell Wayans was one of the most prolific and well-known African American filmmakers of his time.

Leave a Comment