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Robin Simone Givens (born November 27, 1964) is an American stage, television, film actress and model. Givens began her acting career after graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in 1984. In 1986, she won the role of Darlene Merriman in the ABC sitcom Head of the Class. She remained with the series for its entire five-year run. After the series ended in 1991, she continued her career with film roles and guest starring roles on television. She currently has a recurring role as Mayor Sierra McCoy on Riverdale.
In 1996, Givens co-starred on the sitcom Sparks, which aired for two seasons on UPN. In January 2000, she took over hosting duties on the syndicated talk show Forgive or Forget. The show was canceled four months later. Givens has since had recurring roles on The Game, Tyler Perry's House of Payne, and Chuck. In 2007, Givens released her autobiography, Grace Will Lead Me Home. Givens has been married and divorced twice. Her first marriage, to boxer Mike Tyson in 1988, drew considerable media attention as did their divorce the following year. Her second marriage, to tennis instructor Svetozar Marinković in 1997, also lasted a year. In 1993, Givens adopted a son. In 2000, she gave birth to a second son fathered by her ex-boyfriend, tennis player Murphy Jensen.Contents
Givens was born in New York City, to Ruth Roper (née Newby) and Reuben Givens, who divorced when she was two. Her mother raised Givens and her sister Stephanie in Mount Vernon and New Rochelle, New York. Givens was raised Catholic. She graduated from New Rochelle Academy (a N–12 private school which closed in June 1987), and enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College at age 15. She graduated in 1984. She attended Harvard Medical School for two years, but did not graduate.Career 1980s–1990s
Givens first began acting in 1985 with an appearance on The Cosby Show, followed by roles in Diff'rent Strokes and the 1986 television film Beverly Hills Madam, opposite Faye Dunaway. That same year, she landed her breakthrough role as rich girl Darlene Merriman on the ABC sitcom Head of the Class. The series lasted five seasons, ending in 1991. In 1989, while starring in Head of the Class, she appeared in The Women of Brewster Place with Oprah Winfrey. She later appeared in Boomerang (1992). In 1994, she posed nude for Playboy magazine and was ranked #88 on Empire Magazine's 100 Sexiest Stars in Film History list in May 1995. In 1996, Givens portrayed Claudia in the television movie The Face (also known as A Face to Die For) with Yasmine Bleeth. Later that year, she co-starred in the UPN sitcom Sparks, which series ended its run in 1998. She also played Denise in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.2000s–2010s
In January 2000, Givens appeared in a cameo in Toni Braxton's music video "He Wasn't Man Enough", as the wife of a cheating husband. She returned to the entertainment industry later that year as the host of the talk show Forgive or Forget, replacing television personality Mother Love halfway through the show's second season. Ratings initially increased after Givens took over hosting duties, but soon fell. The series was canceled after this season.
In 2006, Givens attempted a return to television on MyNetworkTV's telenovela Saints and Sinners, but the show garnered low ratings and was soon canceled. Givens continued acting in made-for-television films while also making appearances on Trinity Broadcasting Network's Praise the Lord program (July 12, 2007), and Larry King Live. In June 2007, she released her autobiography Grace Will Lead Me Home. Givens returned to feature films in Tyler Perry's Southern drama The Family That Preys (2008). She also had a recurring role portraying a fictionalized version of herself on the CW comedy-drama The Game. Additionally, she has had a recurring role on the TBS show Tyler Perry's House of Payne, and a guest role on USA Network's Burn Notice. In addition to television and film roles, Givens has performed onstage. In 2001, she appeared in an Off Broadway production of The Vagina Monologues. From February to April 16, 2006, she played the role of Roxie Hart in the Broadway play Chicago. In 2007, she toured the country playing a part in the I'm Ready Productions play Men, Money & Golddiggers. Givens starred in the 2009 stage play A Mother's Prayer, which also starred Johnny Gill, Shirley Murdock, and Jermaine Crawford.
In 2007, Givens published a memoir entitled Grace Will Lead Me Home. In it, she reflects on the life of her praying grandmother, Grace, her experiences of domestic violence, her strong will to survive, feeling abandoned by her father, and her faith in God. In 2011, she guest-starred in three episodes of NBC's spy-comedy Chuck: "Chuck Versus the Masquerade", "Chuck Versus the A-Team", and "Chuck Versus the Muuurder", as Jane Bentley. 2015 starred along Clifton Powell, Mishon Ratliff and Malachi Malik in the segment Mama's Boy of TV One's anthology romance horror film Fear Files.Personal life
After meeting in March 1986, Givens married boxer Mike Tyson on February 7, 1988. Tyson was then estimated to have US$50 million, and he and Givens did not make a prenuptial agreement. During their marriage, Givens and her mother bought a $4.6 million mansion in the affluent suburb of Bernardsville, New Jersey.
After a miscarriage in May 1988, the marriage began to fall apart. In a joint interview with Tyson on 20/20, Givens told Barbara Walters that life with him was "torture, pure hell, worse than anything I could possibly imagine," and she went on to describe his volatile temper. In October 1988, Givens filed for divorce and was granted a temporary restraining order. Her attorney, Marvin Mitchelson, said "She loves Michael Tyson. But there is continued violence, and she fears for her safety." Givens alleged spousal abuse, while Tyson alleged alienation and interest in his money, not in him. The divorce was finalized on Valentine's Day in 1989. Newspapers reported that Givens received a divorce settlement of over $10 million from her marriage to Tyson. She later denied the report, stating: "I didn’t receive one dime". She received negative press following her split from Tyson, particularly within the African American community. One article, in particular, described her as "the most hated woman in America".
In 1993, Givens adopted her first son, Michael. In 1997, she married her tennis instructor, Svetozar Marinković; Givens filed for divorce months later. In 1999, she had a second son, William, with ex-boyfriend, Murphy Jensen.Legal issues
In January 2004, Givens critically injured an 89-year-old pedestrian, Maria Antonia Alcover, while driving an SUV through a Miami, Florida intersection. Givens was ticketed for failing to use due care with a pedestrian in a crosswalk, but the charges were later dismissed. In June 2004, Alcover filed a civil lawsuit against Givens and her sister (the owner of the SUV Givens was driving) for an unknown amount.
A May 7, 2009 article in Forbes magazine reported that the Internal Revenue Service was suing Givens for unpaid federal income taxes totaling $292,000 ($333,000 today), which includes interest and penalties. The government had asked a federal court in Florida for a judgment against her on 39 assessments covering a span of eight years.Filmography Film Year Title Role Notes 1978 The Wiz Guest at Aunt Emma's Party Uncredited 1991 A Rage in Harlem Imabelle 1992 Boomerang Jacqueline Broyer 1994 Foreign Student April 1994 Blankman Kimberly Jonz 1995 Dangerous Intentions Kaye Ferrar 1998 Secrets 2000 Everything's Jake Publisher 2001 The Elite Ashe 2002 Book of Love Iyanna 2002 Antibody Dr. Rachel Saverini Direct-to-video release 2003 Head of State Kim 2003 Good Night To Die Dana 2003 Love Chronicles Monifa Burly 2005 Flip The Script Rain Jones 2006 Restraining Order Diane McNeil 2008 Queen of Media Wendy Williams 2008 The Family That Preys Abigail "Abby" Dexter 2008 Little Hercules In 3-D Dana 2009 A Mother's Prayer Brenda Direct-to-DVD release 2010 Enemies Among Us Gloria Direct-to-DVD release 2012 Unspoken Words Mrs. Lewis Direct-to-DVD release 2012 Double Sided Miranda Johnson Direct-to-DVD release 2014 Airplane Vs Volcano Dr. Whitmore 2016 God's Not Dead 2 Principal Kinney unknown God Bless the Broken Road Kareena Williams filmed 2016, unreleased as of June 2018 Television Year Title Role Notes 1985 The Cosby Show Susanne Episode: "Theo and the Older Woman" 1986 Diff'rent Strokes Ann Episode: "The Big Bribe" 1986 Beverly Hills Madam April Baxter Television movie 1986 Philip Marlowe, Private Eye Token Ware Episode: "Pickup on Noon Street" 1986–1991 Head of the Class Darlene Merriman 114 episodes 1989 The Penthouse Dinah St. Clair Television movie 1989 The Women of Brewster Place Kiswana Miniseries 1992 Angel Street Det. Anita King Television movie 1992 Angel Street Det. Anita King Unknown episodes 1995 Me and the Boys Nina 3 episodes 1995 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Denise Episode: "Cold Feet, Hot Body" 1995 Courthouse Suzanne Graham 11 episodes 1996 In the House Alex 3 episodes 1996 A Face to Die For Claudia Television movie 1996–1998 Sparks Wilma Cuthbert 40 episodes 1997 Moesha Ladonna Episode: "Strike a Pose" 1999 The Love Boat: The Next Wave Dana Chase Episode: "Don't Judge a Book by Its Lover" 1999 Michael Jordan: An American Hero Juanita Vanoy/Juanita Jordan Television movie 1999 Cosby Ms. Malone 2 episodes 2000 The Expendables Randy Television movie 2000 Chicken Soup for the Soul Counselor Episode: "The Right Thing" 2000 DAG Jennifer Episode: "Jennifer Returns" 2001 Spinning Out of Control Erin Television movie 2003 Hollywood Wives: The New Generation Kyndra Television movie 2003–2004 One on One Sheila 2 episodes 2005 Captive Hearts Jade Marlo Television movie 2008 Tyler Perry's House of Payne Tanya 6 episodes 2008 Burn Notice Kandi Episode: "Scatter Point" 2008 The Game Herself 7 episodes 2008 Everybody Hates Chris Stacy Episode: "Everybody Hates Doc's" 2010 My Parents, My Sister & Me Keela Goldman 7 episodes 2010 Drop Dead Diva Ann Simpson Episode: "A Mother's Secret" 2010 Nikita Mary Miracle Episode: "All the Way" 2011 Chuck Jane Bentley 3 episodes 2011 Reed Between the Lines Dominique Episode: "Let's Talk About Jealousy" 2012 Suburgatory Tulsa Episode: "Independence Day" 2012 Retired at 35 Dr. Keller Episode: "The Dates" 2013 90210 Cheryl 3 episodes 2013–2014 Twisted Judy 2 episodes 2016 Man Seeking Woman Vicki Claus Episode: "Tinsel" 2016 Lucifer Leila Simms Episode: "Sin-Eater" 2017–present Riverdale Sierra McCoy Recurring Role; 21 episodes 2017-2018 Once Upon a Time Eudora 2 episodes 2019 Ambitions Stephanie Carlisle Series regular Awards and nominations Year Award Result Category Film 1991 ShoWest Convention, USA Won Female Star of Tomorrow 2004 Black Reel Awards Nominated Television: Best Supporting Actress Hollywood Wives: The New Generation Bibliography