Despite her spotty film work, Lisa Bonet remains one of the more intriguing young character actresses in Hollywood, enjoying a longevity that few former child stars can claim. Born in San Francisco in 1967, Bonet's parents divorced when she was young, and her formative years were spent mostly in New York City and L.A. At age 11, she started auditioning for commercials, and after several years of ads and walk-on TV parts, she landed a plum role in NBC's The Cosby Show. The show was an immediate hit, and Bonet quickly asserted herself as one of the most memorable kids in the Huxtable clan, the outspoken teenager Denise.
It became clear that Bonet shared her character's defiant persona when she left Cosby in 1987 for a racy part opposite Mickey Rourke in director Alan Parker's gothic thriller Angel Heart. The role required the 19-year-old Bonet to appear in several graphic sex scenes, some of which had to be cut for mainstream American release. The actress seemed unfazed at the controversy surrounding her appearance in Angel Heart; nonetheless, the part did little to further her big-screen career, and by the end of the year she would return to the safety of episodic TV in the series A Different World. Also in 1987, Bonet married rocker Lenny Kravitz, whose impetuous free spirit and bi-racial upbringing uncannily paralleled her own background.