Yvette Wilson brought smiles to many faces for over a decade, and even as her tragic and untimely death approached, the "Moesha" and "The Parkers" star was only concerned about seeing people happy.
Wilson had TV appearances as far back as the early 90s in shows like "In Living Color," but it wasn’t until 1996 when she clinched the role of Andell Wilkerson in "Moesha" that Wilson became a household name.
Yvette Wilson on November 17, 2003 in Hollywood, California | Photo: Getty Images
Wilkerson was the title character Moesha’s older friend and owner of the community hangout The Den. So famous was Wilson with the audience that she earned a spot playing the same role on the show’s spinoff "The Parkers."
After "The Parkers" ended its run in 2004, Wilson scored appearances in productions like "Friday," "House Party 2," "House Party 3," and Russell Simmons' "Def Comedy Jam." For the most part, however, the comic star slipped under the radar.
Unfortunately, when Wilson made headlines again, it was for her failing health. In May 2012, one month before the actress eventually died, NewsOne reported that she was in dire need of funds "to pay her mounting medical bills."
At the time, Wilson was already battling stage 4 cervical cancer and previously overcame kidney failure for which she got transplants.
According to the outlet, Wilson’s friend Jeffrey Pittle launched a fundraising campaign on the comedian’s behalf via the platform GiveForward.com, which has since been integrated into GoFundMe.
Yvette Wilson & the cast of "The Parkers" on Nov. 17, 2003 in Hollywood, California | Photo: Getty Images
Pittle, a stage 4 cancer survivor himself, reportedly set up the campaign to help cover Wilson’s medical bills and any transportation costs that might be incurred from getting her to various medical facilities.
According to E! News, Pittle’s fundraiser raised more than $13,000 in donations, but unfortunately, Wilson passed away on June 14, 2012. She was 48.
Pittle confirmed his friend’s death to the outlet, saying:
"Unfortunately I can verify Yvette's passing yesterday. She was a good friend, a talented actress and a very funny lady, both onscreen and off. She will be sorely missed, but I'm sure her talent and humor will live on in her legion of fans. It's a small comfort knowing we can still experience Yvette through the work she left behind."
"I met Yvette through work, and her spark of creativity was unmatched," he added "Our experiences with cancers gave us a special bond, and I am proud to have been able to lend her support emotionally, as well as financially through the fundraiser I held. I only wish I could have done more."
In no time, tributes began to roll in from celebrity friends who had known Wilson. Her "Moesha" co-star Shar Jackson led the train with a series of heartbreaking tweets.
Wilson’s friend and fellow comic, Jamie Foxx, also paid tribute to the late star.
Former Fugees singer Lauryn Hill was more reflective in paying tribute to Wilson, penning via Daily Mail:
"R.I.P Yvette Wilson (Andell From The Parkers). She recently lost her battle with cancer. Life is short, so cherish yours."
"Yvette Wilson always a sweetheart," Marlon Wayans added. "Need a moment. Y'all join me in my twitter moment of silence respecting a beautiful, funny lady & friend."
According to The Mississippi Link, Wilson was cremated in accordance with her wishes, and as she’d asked, there was no funeral. Instead, family and friends gathered for a "memorial party" in Los Angeles on June 30.
"Yvette had prepared us for this," Wilson’s mother Thelma Randall McDonald told the outlet over the phone. "She left specific instructions that she did not want a funeral; she did not want sadness; she wanted a party."
"She said, 'I don’t want people crying, I want them to celebrate,'" McDonald revealed.
Even in death, Wilson, who is survived by two daughters and two grandsons, only wanted to see people happy and smiling.
Though she may be gone, Wilson’s memory lives on in the hearts and minds of everyone she entertained during her brief time on earth.
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