Coming to America was one of the best romantic comedy films in 1988. Now, three decades after its original release, the members of the cast have changed a lot.
The movie, which was starred and written by Eddie Murphy, followed the life of Prince Akeen, played by Murphy, and all he lived when he traveled from his wealthy country in Africa to Queens, New York.
Akeem didn’t come to the U.S. alone, though. He took his friend Semmi, played by Arsenio Hall, with him. Both actors portrayed different roles in the same movie, a fact that surprised the audience a lot.
Murphy played Randy Watson, barbershop owner Clarence, and customer Saul. After that movie, his career skyrocketed as he got roles in important movies.
Some of the most important are Boomerang, The Nutty Professor, Bowfinger, and Dreamgirls. According to Hollywood Reporter, he is set to appear in the upcoming Netflix film Dolemite Is My Name, a project that Murphy also produced.
Hall, on the other hand, not only portrayed Semmi but also Reverend Brown, Morris the barber, and a female clubgoer who hit on Semmi and Akeem. After that movie, Hall started hosting his own show from 1989 to 1994.
Another important member of the cast was Akeem’s father, King Jaffe Joffer, played by James Earl Jones. Jones was known as the voice of Darth Vader in the first three movies of Star Wars. He will voice over Mufasa in the upcoming Lion King remake.
Actor John Amos took the role of Cleo McDowell, the protective father of Akeem’s love interest. After Coming to America, he worked on different projects like The West Wing and The Ranch.
Cleo’s daughter was Lisa, played by Shari Headley. Akeem fell in love as soon as he saw her and even lied to make sure she liked him for his personality and not because of his power and wealth. Headley’s latest projects were The Have and the Have Nots and Switched at Birth.
When Akeem met Lisa, she had a boyfriend named Darryl Jenks, played by Eriq La Salle. After Coming to America, La Salle kept acting in important projects, including ER, wherein he portrayed Dr. Peter Benton.
Akeem and Semmi’s landlord in Queens was called Mr. Townsend, and he was played by Frankie Faison. After working in the movie, he got roles on Grey’s Anatomy, Banshee, and The Good Wife.
Samuel L. Jackson took a small role in the movie: he was the robber who attacked Lisa. Jackson’s career improved considerably as he starred in Pulp Fiction, Jurassic Park, Unbreakable, and several Marvel movies.
Vondie Curtis-Hall took the role of a vendor at a basketball game in the film. Later, the actor would appear in Romeo and Juliet, For the People, Daredevil, and ER.
Garcelle Beauvais, best known for her role on The Jamie Foxx Show, portrayed a rose bearer in Coming to America. More recently, she has worked in Spider-Man: Homecoming and White House Down.
Another actor that might have been unnoticed was Cuba Gooding Jr. Coming to America represented his film debut and he played a young man getting a haircut.
After that, he starred in movies like Boyz n the Hood, Outbreak, and Jerry Maguire. The most recent projects he has worked in are American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson and American Horror Story: Roanoke.
Coming to America was so good that in early 2017, it was announced that there would be a sequel. At the moment, there are not many details about it. Fans cannot wait for it, though.