Telma Hopkins – Biography, Facts, Movies And TV Shows

Telma Hopkins first got famous as a singer and member of “Tony Orlando and Dawn”, a music group which churned out numerous chart-topping hits in the 1970s. The group also headlined their own TV show Tony Orlando and Dawn which lasted for 3 seasons on CBS. Hopkins eventually ventured into acting following the group’s first split in 1977 and starting from the early 1980s, she played regular roles in many popular sitcoms, including Bosom Buddies, Gimme a Break!, Family Matters and Getting By.

In terms of movie credits, Hopkins is best known for her role as Ruth Raines in the Trancers Sci-Fi film series. She has also had regular TV roles since the turn of the century, having starred in sitcoms like Half & Half, Are We There Yet? and Partners. She has equally reunited and performed with her music group Tony Orlando and Dawn on several occasions and her career as a singer remains very active till date.

Telma Hopkins – Biography

Telma Hopkins was born on the 28th day of October in the year 1948. She was born in Louisville, Kentucky but grew up with her grandmother in Highland Park, Michigan. She started out as a backup singer and got to work on a couple of hit songs produced by the legendary Motown Records. She also performed backup vocals for highly successful music acts such as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Isaac Hayes and The Four Tops.

In 1971, Telma Hopkins was recruited by Tony Orlando alongside Joyce Vincent Wilson to form a three-piece music group named “Dawn”. Orlando had previously released 2 chart-topping singles “Candida” and “Knock Three Times” under the name Dawn and thus, he decided to form a real band to go on tour with and also record more songs. The group was a mega success as they went on to release 16 top 40 singles including 3 number one hits. The band also had their own self-titled TV show Tony Orlando and Dawn (1974-76) on ABC. Despite these successes, they disbanded in 1977.

Movies And TV Shows

Being a woman of diverse talents, Hopkins swiftly delved into acting in the late 1970s. She landed her first regular role on the short-lived sitcom A New Kind of Family (1979-80). She landed a bigger role as Isabelle Hammond on the sitcom Bosom Buddies (1980-82). She was also on the main cast of several other hit sitcoms; as Addy Wilson on Gimme a Break! (1983-87), as Rachel Crawford on Family Matters (1989-97) and as Dolores Dixon on Getting By (1993-94).

At the turn of the century, Telma Hopkins continued her dominance on the small screen as she landed a spot on the main cast Half & Half (2002-06), starring as series regular Phyllis Thorne. Her next major TV role was on the Ice Cube sitcom Are We There Yet? (2010-13) in which she played the role of Marilyn Persons. The talented actress also appeared on the one-season long sitcom Partners (2014), in addition to several guest appearances on other TV shows.

Hopkins has obviously had the biggest roles in her career on television, however, she has some notable film credits to her name. She is well known to movie lovers for her role as Ruth “Ruthie” Raines in the Trancers science fiction franchise which includes Trancers (1984), Trancers II (1991), Trancers III (1992) and Trancers: City of Lost Angels (2013). Other film credits of hers include The Wood (1999), Down to Earth (2001) and The Love Guru (2008).

Her Family Life

Telma Hopkins
Telma Hopkins with her son J.D.; image source

Telma Hopkins got married to Donald B. Alen back in 1970. Their union lasted for several years and they had one child together, a son named JD. However, the marriage ended in divorce in 1977.

See Also: Phylicia Rashād Bio, Daughter, Spouse, Children and TV Husband – Bill Cosby

More Facts About the Actress and Singer

Her music exploits

At the peak of her music career in the 1970s, Telma Hopkins recorded up to 13 albums with the music group Tony Orlando and Dawn. After their first split in 1977, the group has reunited several times to record new music and also perform together. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2008.


This multi-talented star has won a few accolades in the course of her long-running acting career. For her performance on the series Half & Half, she received the Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series at the 2005 BET Comedy Awards.

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