Holly Elizabeth Robinson Peete (born September 18, 1964) is an American actress and singer. She is known for her roles as Judy Hoffs on the Fox TV police drama 21 Jump Street, Vanessa Russell on the ABC sitcom Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, and Dr. Malena Ellis on the NBC/WB sitcom For Your Love. She also served as one of the original co-hosts of the CBS daytime talk show The Talk.
After graduating from high school, Peete entered Sarah Lawrence College in New York. She majored in Psychology and French. After she graduated in 1986, she considered attending graduate school and perhaps working in languages for the U.S. State Department. However, she decided to give an acting career a chance. Within a short time, Peete found roles on a television series and in two films.
Peete's children's book, My Brother Charlie, won her an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in March 2011. In 2012 the book was awarded the Dolly Gray Children's Literature Award.
In March 2016, a reality series debuted entitled For Peete's Sake, documenting the everyday life of her family.
Peete was born in Mount Airy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Dolores and Matt Robinson (the original Gordon on Sesame Street). Her mother was a school teacher, in public relations, and later a personal talent manager, and her father a producer/writer. She has an older brother named Matthew Thomas Robinson III. She attended Greene Street Friends School in nearby Germantown. In 1974, her family moved to California. Peete graduated from Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, California, where her classmates included Rob Lowe. Peete graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a degree in psychology and French. Peete studied abroad for a year at the Sorbonne, and is fluent in French. While there she sang in Paris nightclubs, including a memorable performance with jazz legend Lionel Hampton at the Hotel Meridian Jazz Club.
In 1969, she made her first television appearance by playing a little girl named Sally on the very first episode of Sesame Street. She recalls that when she was six years old, she kept blowing her line, saying "Hi, Daddy", instead of "Hi, Gordon", his character's name. She ended up with just an appearance where she walked down the street with Big Bird. At the age of 11, Holly worked for the children's show Kidsworld as a celebrity correspondent; she interviewed many actors and actresses for the program. As an actress, she has appeared on the TV series 21 Jump Street (1987–1991), Hangin' with Mr. Cooper (1992–1997), For Your Love (1998–2002), and Like Family (2003–2004). She was featured in the video for the 1990 hit single "Whip Appeal" by Babyface as the sultry radio host at the beginning of the video. In 1992 she portrayed Diana Ross in The Jacksons: An American Dream. Robinson most recently starred on the UPN comedy Love, Inc.. The show lasted just one season, and was canceled after the WB/UPN merger.
Robinson has also had a limited career as a singer and recording artist, including the introductory song to 21 Jump Street. She contributed a variety of songs to the soundtrack of the film Howard the Duck. (She appeared as a musician/singer in a minor role in the film.) She recorded the theme song "We Got Our Love" for the 1988 film Three for the Road. She and Dawnn Lewis, along with R&B quartet En Vogue, performed the theme song for the first season of Hangin' with Mr. Cooper.
In 2006, she won, along with fellow writer Daniel Paisner, the Quills Award in Sports for the book Get Your Own Damn Beer, I'm Watching the Game!: A Woman's Guide to Loving Pro Football.
In 2010, she participated in The Celebrity Apprentice 3, playing for her own charity, the HollyRod Foundation, which provides support for families with Parkinson's disease or autism.
Robinson began co-hosting The Talk, a CBS daytime talk show, on October 18, 2010. In this forum, Robinson was known for expressing herself through her ethnicity and being especially vocal about African American issues and, since her son Rodney is affected by it, autism. In April 2011, Robinson hosted a weekly series on The Talk promoting autism awareness.
After serving on The Talk for its first season, Robinson along with Leah Remini were released from the show. Failure to ever disclose why the two were let go brought on a great deal of audience criticism of the show, as well as protests from the stars' fans.
Robinson hosted the 42nd NAACP Image Awards, alongside Wayne Brady, on March 4, 2011.
The Peete family star in a reality TV series on OWN, entitled For Peete's Sake. The series follows the lives of Peete and her husband Rodney as they juggle career choices with their family life.
On June 10, 1995, Robinson married Rodney Peete, a National Football League quarterback. He proposed by surprising Holly during an episode of Hangin' with Mr. Cooper. Together, they have four children: twin daughter Ryan and son Rodney, Jr. born in 1997, and two younger sons born in 2002 and 2005. Rodney Jr. was diagnosed with autism at age 3.
After her father was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, Robinson and her husband co-founded the HollyRod Foundation, which is dedicated to help find a cure for the disease, as well as for autism, and assist those living with the conditions.
In September 2012, Nestle's Carnation Breakfast Essentials announced they had teamed up with Robinson, featuring her as the spokesperson for the brand. On October 4, 2012, Robinson was inducted as an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
Note: She was credited as Holly Robinson until 1997.
|1986||Howard the Duck||K.C., Cherry Bomb|
|2007||Matters of Life and Dating|
|2012||21 Jump Street||Judy Hoffs||Cameo|
|2014||Instant Mom||Mrs. Kimberley Phillips|
|1969||Sesame Street||Sally||Walk-on role (and deleted scene)|
|1987–1991||21 Jump Street||Officer Judy Hoffs||Main role (102 episodes)|
|1992||The Jacksons: An American Dream||Diana Ross||Miniseries|
|1992–1997||Hangin' with Mr. Cooper||Vanessa Russell||Main role (101 episodes)|
|1997||Pacific Blue||Gina Galindo||Episode: "Soft Targets"|
|1998||Killers in the House||Jennie Sawyer||Movie|
|1998–2002||For Your Love||Malena Ellis||Main role (84 episodes)|
|1999||After All||Michelle Troussaint||Movie|
|2001-2002||One on One||Stacey||Recurring role (6 episodes)|
|2002||My Wonderful Life||Samika||Movie|
|2003–2004||Like Family||Tanya Jones||23 episodes|
|2005–2006||Love, Inc.||Clea||22 episodes|
|2009||The Bridget Show||Macy||Movie|
|2010||The Celebrity Apprentice||Herself||12 episodes; runner-up|
|2010–2011||The Talk||Herself/co-host||59 episodes|
|2011||The Young and the Restless||Herself||July 28, 2011 episode|
|2011–2012||Mike & Molly||Christina||12 episodes|
|2015||Angel of Christmas||Yvette Collins||Movie|
|2016||Chicago PD||Tamara Jones||2 episodes|
|2016–2017||For Peete's Sake||Herself||Reality television series|
|2018||Morning Show Mystery: Mortal Mishaps||Billie Blessings||Movie|
|2018||Morning Show Mystery: Murder on the Menu||Billie Blessings||Movie|
|2018||Meet the Peetes||Herself||Reality series|