Lou Myers, Mr. Gaines on ‘A Different World,’ dies

Lou Myers (left), Tommy Hollis (top), Carl Gordon (right), and Charles Dutton in August Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson.”
Lou Myers (left), Tommy Hollis (top), Carl Gordon (right), and Charles Dutton in August Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson.”
Hallmark Hall of Fame

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Actor Lou Myers, best known for his role as ornery restaurant owner Mr. Gaines on the television series ‘‘A Different World,’’ has died. He was 76.

Tonia McDonald of Mr. Myers’s nonprofit, Global Business Incubation Inc., said he died Tuesday night at Charleston Area Medical Center in West Virginia. McDonald said Wednesday that Mr. Myers had been in and out of the hospital since before Christmas and collapsed recently.

A native of Chesapeake, W.Va., Mr. Myers had returned to the state and lived in the Charleston area.

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His television credits included ‘‘NYPD Blue,’’ “E.R.,’’ “The Cosby Show,’’ “Touched by an Angel,’’ and more. He also appeared in a number of films, including ‘‘Tin Cup,’’ “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,’’ and the “Wedding Planner.’’

‘‘A Different World’’ ran from 1987 to 1993 and originally starred Lisa Bonet from ‘‘Cosby’’ fame. Mr. Myers said he owed his introduction to Hollywood to Bill Cosby.

Mr. Myers also appeared on Broadway including ‘‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’’ and ‘‘Oprah Winfrey’s The Color Purple.’’

In 2005, the Appalachian Education Initiative listed Mr. Myers as one of 50 ‘‘Outstanding Creative Artists’’ from the state of West Virginia and featured him in their coffee table book Art & Soul.

He began singing jazz and blues with the touring company of ‘‘Negro Music in Vogue,’’ according to a biography provided by McDonald.

His cabaret show has been acclaimed in Berlin, Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York, as well as Los Angeles at the Roosevelt Hotel.

Mr. Myers was chairman of Global Business Incubation that helps urban small businesses and chairman of the Lou Myers Scenario Motion Picture Institute/Theatre.

He won a NAACP ‘‘Best Actor’’ award for playing the Stool Pigeon in ‘‘King Hedley II,’’ a play by August Wilson.