Lisa Bonet (born Lisa Michelle Boney; November 16, 1967), also known as Lilakoi Moon, is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Denise Huxtable on the long-running NBC sitcom ‘The Cosby Show’, and originally starring in its spinoff, ‘A Different World’ with an unknown Marisa Tomei.
After being in beauty pageants and appearing in guest spots on television series as a child, Bonet landed the role of Denise Huxtable on The Cosby Show alongside Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad. In 1987, she briefly left The Cosby Show to star in the spin-off series A Different World, which focused on Denise Huxtable’s life at college. That year, Bonet accepted the role of Epiphany Proudfoot in the movie ‘Angel Heart’ opposite Mickey Rourke, directed by Alan Parker. In the film, Bonet appeared in a graphic sex scene with Rourke from which scenes had to be censored to ensure an R-rating, though later an uncut X-rated version was released.
Angel Heart is adapted from the novel Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg, and is generally faithful to the
novel with the exceptions being the introduction of a child of Epiphany Proudfoot (Lisa Bonet) conceived at a voodoo ceremony by “a devil”, and that the novel never leaves New York City, whereas much of the action of the film occurs in New Orleans.
Set in 1955, Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke), a downtrodden but competent private investigator is contacted by an attorney named Herman Winesap (Dann Florek) and instructed to meet a client named Louis Cyphre (Robert De Niro) in a Harlem Church. Cyphre, an elegant but mysterious man with long, manicured fingernails, tells Angel about a once-popular big band crooner named Johnny Favorite who was drafted during World War II and suffered severe neurological trauma in action. Favorite’s incapacitation disrupted a contract with Cyphre regarding unknown collateral, and Cyphre believes that the hospital has falsified records, preventing the contract from being fulfilled. He hires Angel to discover the truth, and in the process, locate Favorite. Angel travels to the hospital and discerns that the records were altered by a morphine-addicted veteran physician named Fowler (Michael Higgins); Fowler turns up dead shortly thereafter and Angel fears being suspected.
Angel uses a journalist lover to find out more of Favorite’s background, including his pre-war friendship with a Coney Island fortune teller, Margaret Krusemark (Charlotte Rampling), now a prominent figure in voodoo and travels to New Orleans to find her. Margaret refuses to divulge much information to Angel and tells him that Johnny is dead to her. To circumvent her obstruction, he tracks down Johnny’s former secret love and discovers her daughter Epiphany Proudfoot (Lisa Bonet), who was conceived during her relationship with Favorite. Epiphany is equally reluctant to speak, and so Angel locates Toots Sweet (Brownie McGhee), a former Favorite bandmate. After witnessing Toots at a voodoo ceremony attended by Epiphany, Angel uses force to extract details of Favorite’s last known whereabouts from Toots. In the morning, the New Orleans police inform Angel that Toots was murdered after he left; Angel later finds Margaret murdered in her home and her heart removed with a sacrificial knife. Angel suspects that Favorite is in hiding and killing off his former friends to prevent his discovery…
A highly atmospheric film, Angel Heart combines elements of film noir and horror to great effect. Angel Heart broke even at the box office with its budget of $17 million. After being released on home video it became something of a cult film, appreciated for its unsettling tone, bleak cinematography (by Michael Seresin), its sad and eerie score (by Trevor Jones), and its wonderful blend of genres.
After announcing that she was pregnant to Lenny Kravitz during the run of A Different World, Bonet left the series. The following year, she returned to The Cosby Show, but was fired in 1991 for “creative differences”. After The Cosby Show, Bonet worked on straight-to-video releases and made-for-TV movies. Her only notable film appearances through this time are a supporting role in the Will Smith action film, ‘Enemy of the State’, and as a singer in the movie ‘High Fidelity’ with John Cusack.
In August 2006, Nick at Nite briefly aired A Different World. Bonet appeared in a week-long A Different World reunion special that aired on Nick at Nite. Bonet also co-starred in the 2006 film Whitepaddy alongside Sherilyn Fenn, Karen Black and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. She resurfaced two years later in the US adaptation of the British television series, ‘Life on Mars’.