See Colonel Taylor From "A Different World" Now at 75
Glynn Turman has been in hundreds of movies and TV shows.
In the second season of A Different World, Glynn Turman made his debut as Colonel Taylor—or Dr. War, as the young adults at Hillman College called him. And he remained on the sitcom throughout the rest of the series, allowing for storylines including the Season 5 arc in which his character dated his former student Jaleesa (Dawnn Lewis), confounding fans.
But Turman's entertainment career began long before he played the tough-talking math professor on the Cosby Show spinoff. He began acting at the age of 12 years old, starring in a Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun with no less an icon than Sidney Poitier. He went from the stage to being a Hollywood presence, starring in films like Cooley High and marrying one of the biggest names in music. Read on to find out what Turman has been up to since A Different World ended in 1993.
His career hasn't slowed down, even in his 70s.
To fully document Turman's career after A Different World would take ages, as he has almost 200 acting credits to his name. Some notable roles include Mayor Royce on The Wire, Jeremiah Kaan on House Of Lies, Nate Lahey Sr. on How to Get Away With Murder. He's also appeared in the shows Claws, Mr. Mercedes, Power, and Fargo and in the movies How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Sahara, Super 8, and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
He currently has six projects in the works, including the new TV adaptation Percy Jackson and The Olympians and the bopic Rustin. Turman told The Detroit News of his long career in 2021, "I'm a lucky guy. I'm on the back nine of my career and these iconic roles keep coming to me. … I'm rejuvenated and energized and ready to go."
He spends time on his ranch.
Turman is a "cowboy at heart," as he told The Detroit News, and since the pandemic started, he's been spending more and more time on his ranch in Southern California.
And his love of horses and riding dates all the way back to his childhood in New York City. "I used to go to the stables up in Central Park," he said in a 2021 interview with Vanity Fair. "I would go there, and I would ask them to let me clean the stables, and if they let me do that, could my payment be to ride the horses? So that was what I had worked out. I was just a teenager, and when my mother found out that that's what I was doing, she said, 'Well, okay, since I can't stop you from playing hooky and going to the stables, I've got a friend who can teach you how to ride.' She took me to a friend of hers, and she taught me the basics of really riding."
For more celebrity updates sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
He modeled for Beyoncé.
Appropriately, Turman starred in a rodeo-themed 2021 ad for Beyoncé's Ivy Park line. And he didn't have to travel far for it—the spot was filmed at his ranch, which was also used for the singer's 2016 visual album, Lemonade. To Vanity Fair, Turman revealed his personal Beyoncé connection and explained how his major modeling moment happened
"Beyoncé, Jay[-Z], my wife, and a whole group of us just so happened to be having dinner in Jamaica while on vacation," he said. "Beyoncé mentioned that she had some finishing touches she wanted to put on a shoot that she was doing to roll out a new line. It was a rodeo line, and she knew that I'm a cowboy, because actually, my grandson rode in her Lemonade [film]. There's a scene with a horseman. That was my grandson, and we shot that at my ranch. I said, 'B, you said you're not finished, you got some other stuff to do? What are you talking about? You know I got you!' And she said, 'Glynn, you know I didn't want to impose.'"
The actor's granddaughter also appeared in the Ivy Park ad.
He stayed close with Aretha Franklin.
Turman married Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin in 1978, and they were together until 1982. Though their marriage was relatively brief, the exes remained close after it ended. In fact, Turman told The Detroit News he visited the music legend the day before her death in 2018.
"We really liked each other," he explained. "We had time as lovers together but I liked her as a human being and she liked me the same. We had mutual respect for each other."
Today, Turman has been married to Jo-Ann Allen for 30 years. He has three children from his first marriage, to Ula M. Walker, which lasted from 1965 to 1971.