Lou Myers, a stage and screen veteran best known for his performance as cantankerous restaurant owner Mr. Gaines on the long-running television series A Different World, has died in West Virginia at the age of 77 after battling pneumonia for several months.
The Chesapeake, West Virginia-native most recently appeared on Broadway as Ol' Mister in the 2005 Broadway musical The Color Purple and as Reverend Tooker in Debbie Allen's 2008 revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, opposite James Earl Jones and Phylicia Rashād. He made his New York stage debut in 1968 in the Blackfriars' Guild production of J. J. Geoghegan's Decision at Tongo. A 1975 off-Broadway appearance in the Negro Ensemble Company's production of Leslie Lee's The First Breeze of Summer led to his Broadway debut when the show played a brief run at the Palace Theatre. It was also broadcast on PBS as part of the Great Performances series.
A veteran of the plays of August Wilson, Myers appeared as Wining Boy in the 1991 Broadway production of The Piano Lesson (a film of which was made for the Hallmark Hall of Fame series), and received an NAACP Image Award and an Audelco Award nomination for his performance as Stool Pigeon in Signature Theatre's 2007 off-Broadway revival of Wilson's King Hedley II.
Besides his work on the popular Cosby Show spin-off A Different World, Myers' screen credits included the films Bulworth, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Tin Cup, The Wedding Planner, and Lackawanna Blues, along with the television series' All About the Andersons, My Parents, My Sister & Me, and NYPD Blue, among many others.
According to published reports, Myers is survived by 95-year-old mother, Dorothy, his son, Melvin, and his grandchildren, Brayden and Christian.