Prince (ahem, King) Akeem is back! The ‘Coming to America’ sequel, ‘Coming 2 America,’ is out now and features so many new and familiar faces. See the iconic cast then and now.
The Zamundan royal family still reigns supreme! Coming 2 America, the highly-anticipated sequel to the 1988 comedy Coming to America, was released globally via Amazon Prime Video on March 5, 2021. It’s been 33 years since the first film was released, so fans have been waiting a very long time for this film. The sequel is set in the royal country of Zamunda and follows newly crowned King Akeem and his best pal Semmi as they go on a hilarious new adventure that takes them back to Queens, New York.
Eddie Murphy is back as Akeem, along with Arsenio Hall as Semmi. They are joined by other characters from the original movie and new cast members Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, KiKi Layne, Teyana Taylor, as well as Eddie’s own daughter, Bella Murphy. In honor of the sequel, take a look back at the original Coming to America cast then and now.
Eddie Murphy, 59, stars as both Prince Akeem Joffer, prince of Zamunda, in both Coming to America and the 2021 sequel. Eddie has had an incredibly successful and lucrative career since Coming to America. He starred in hit movies like The Nutty Professor, Dr. Dolittle, Mulan, and the Shrek film series.
The actor won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and earned an Oscar nomination for his role in Dreamgirls. He won his very first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for hosting Saturday Night Live in 2019. It was the SNL alum’s first time hosting the show since 1984. He received critical acclaim for playing Rudy Ray Moore in the 2019 film Dolemite Is My Name.
Eddie began dating Nicole Mitchell in 1988, and they married in 1993. They have 5 children together. They divorced in 2006. Eddie dated Spice Girls star Mel B following his divorce from Nicole, and they have one child together. He was also in a relationship with Tracey Edmonds. The actor has been dating Paige Butcher since 2012. They have two kids together and got engaged in 2018.
Arsenio Hall, 64, plays fan-favorite Semmi, Akeem’s friend, in Coming to America and the sequel. Like Murphy, he plays additional side characters in the films. The year following Coming to America, Arsenio began hosting his own talk show, The Arsenio Hall Show. The show ran from 1989 to 1994 and again from 2013 to 2014.
He’s appeared as himself on a number of shows over the years. He also won season 5 of Celebrity Apprentice. Arsenio is very private about his personal life. He does have a son, who was born in 1998.
Shari Headley’s breakout role was playing Lisa McDowell in Coming to America. Lisa and Akeem fall in love over the course of the film, and they get married at the end of the movie. Shari, 56, returns to the role of Lisa in the 2021 sequel.
Following Coming to America, Shari appeared in other films like The Preacher’s Wife, Johnson Family Vacation, and Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. She notably played Det. Mimi Reed on All My Children from 1991 to 1994. She starred as Jennifer Sallison in the OWN drama series The Haves and the Have Nots from 2014 to 2016.
Shari was married to Christopher Martin, known as “Play” from the duo Kid N’ Play, from 1993 to 1995. Their son was born in 1994.
James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones, 89, was just one of the many members of the star-studded Coming to America cast. He played King Jaffe Joffer, Akeem’s father and King of Zamunda. He is returning for the sequel as well. Madge Sinclair, who played Akeem’s mom and the Queen of Zamunda, passed away in 1995.
James has one of the most iconic voices in Hollywood. Everyone knows him as the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars franchise, but he also became well-known for voicing the character of Mufasa in the 1994 Disney film The Lion King. He voiced Mufasa again in the 2019 live-action remake of The Lion King.
His other notable films after Coming to America include Field of Dreams, The Hunt for Red October, The Sandlot, and more. James has also had an incredible stage career. He received an honorary Oscar in 2012. James’ second wife, Cecilia Hart, died in 2016 after battling ovarian cancer. They had been married since 1982.
Garcelle Beauvais, 54, played a rose bearer in the 1988 film, and she will be returning for the sequel. Garcelle’s big break was playing Fancy on The Jamie Foxx Show from 1996 to 2001. She also played A.D.A. Valerie Heywood on NYPD Blue from 2001 to 2004. Her other major film roles include White House Down, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Flight, and more.
She joined The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills as a new cast member in season 10. In 2020, she was announced as a new co-host of the daytime talk show The Real. Garcelle was married to Daniel Saunders, and they have a son, Oliver, together. After her divorce from Daniel, she married Mike Nilon in 2001. Their twin sons were born in 2007. Their divorce was finalized in 2011. On RHOBH, she opened up about how she discovered Mike was having an affair. When she confronted him about his texts with another woman, he revealed that he’d been having an affair for 5 years.
John Amos, 80, will return as Cleo McDowell, Lisa’s father, in the 2021 sequel. After the 1988 original movie, John went on to appear in notable films like Die Hard 2, Madea’s Witness Protection, and Uncut Gems.
He’s also had major TV roles as well. He recurred as Admiral Percy Fitzwallace on The West Wing from 1999 to 2004. He played Buzz Washingon on Men in Trees from 2006 to 2008. In 2019, he appeared in the Live in Front of a Studio Audience primetime event for the Good Times episode.