True Colors (TV series)

Last updated
True Colors
Genre Sitcom
Created by Michael J. Weithorn
Written byPeter Freedman
Gregory Allen Howard
Jeffrey Joseph
Michael J. Weithorn
Directed by Peter Bonerz
Stan Lathan
Arlene Sanford
Rob Schiller
Carol Scott
John Sgueglia
Starring Frankie Faison
(Season 1)
Cleavon Little
(Season 2)
Stephanie Faracy
Claude Brooks
Brigid Conley Walsh
Adam Jeffries
Nancy Walker
Theme music composer Lennie Niehaus
ComposerGordon Lustig
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes45
Executive producerMichael J. Weithorn
Producer Faye Oshima Belyeu
Running time2224 minutes
Production companiesHanley Productions
20th Century Fox Television
Original network Fox
Original releaseSeptember 2, 1990 (1990-09-02) 
April 12, 1992 (1992-04-12)

True Colors is an American sitcom television series that aired on Fox from September 2, 1990, to April 12, 1992, for a total of 45 episodes. [1] The series was created by Michael J. Weithorn, and featured an interracial marriage and a subsequent blended family.



Premise and first season

Ronald Freeman (Frankie Faison) is a widowed African-American dentist in Baltimore who marries Ellen Davis (Stephanie Faracy), a divorced white kindergarten teacher who was one of his patients. Ron has two sons from his first marriage, 17-year-old earnest conservative Terry (Claude Brooks) and daydreaming 14-year-old troublemaker Lester (Adam Jeffries); Ellen has a teenage daughter: studious, cause-driven Katie (Brigid Conley Walsh). Ellen's ex-husband Leonard (played in guest appearances by Paul Sand), who is accepting of her second marriage, would occasionally visit her while attempting to get his life back on track. Although the series did focus on race issues, most episodes focused on the family adjusting to their new living situation and the three children going through adolescence.

Second season

In the series' second season, Faison was replaced by Cleavon Little as Ron Freeman. Nancy Walker, who was suffering from lung cancer, ultimately only appeared in half the season's episodes due to her treatments and compromised health; she used a motorized wheelchair after she suddenly lost her physical mobility. Terry went off to Marshall State University that fall, not far from home. Ellen accepted a new teaching job at Cortez Junior High, and during the season, she finally realized her long-time talent as a painter. She began to showcase some of her work at local art exhibits, in hopes of launching a new side career. Early in 1992, Robert (Norman D. Golden II) was introduced. Robert, who went by the nickname "Twist", was a young neighbor boy who attached himself to the Freemans, stealing scenes and causing an uproar, usually involving Lester and Terry along the way. Meanwhile, Little looked more and more gaunt during the season; the actor disclosed that he was battling colorectal cancer.

Cancellation and cast deaths

Fox shortened the season order for True Colors by February sweeps and kept the episode total at 21. The new episode that aired on April 12, 1992, wound up being the series' last, as Fox cancelled True Colors one month later. Walker, who had continued working into the winter months until she could no longer do so, died on March 25, 1992, after the series had produced what would be its last episode, but less than a month before the last original episode aired. On October 22, 1992, Little died of cancer. [2]


Episode list

Season 1 (1990–91)

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
11"A Visit from Ray" Stan Lathan Michael J. Weithorn September 2, 1990 (1990-09-02)
Ron wants to have a 2-month wedding anniversary dinner for the family to bond. After the Family get a live turkey to eat, they name him Ray and treat him like a pet.
22"A Pair of Cranks"Stan LathanMichael J. WeithornSeptember 9, 1990 (1990-09-09)
Ron's disdain for Lester's friend JR Taylor is justified when he shoplifts a pair of expensive athletic shoes. When Lester is accused of same, Sara bails him out by purchasing the shoes to avoid police involvement. But Ron finds Sara's "gift" and Lester realizes he would have been better off in the County jail than in his father's jail.
33"One of the Girls"John SguegliaLloyd GarverSeptember 16, 1990 (1990-09-16)
44"A Dog's Life"John SguegliaMichael J. WeithornSeptember 23, 1990 (1990-09-23)
Terry is offered a scholarship, but when Katie joins him at his scholarship interview, she accidentally kills the interviewer's dog.
55"Step Lightly"John SguegliaMichael J. WeithornSeptember 30, 1990 (1990-09-30)
66John SguegliaAnne ConvyOctober 7, 1990 (1990-10-07)
77"What's Wrong with that Boy?"John SguegliaMichael J. WeithornOctober 21, 1990 (1990-10-21)
88"Tooth or Consequences" Rob Schiller Gregory Allen Howard October 28, 1990 (1990-10-28)
99"Soft Shell" Arlene Sanford Stan SeidelNovember 4, 1990 (1990-11-04)
1010"Young at Heart" Peter Bonerz Peter FreedmanNovember 11, 1990 (1990-11-11)
1111"Occasional Wife"Peter BonerzAnne ConvyNovember 18, 1990 (1990-11-18)
1212"High Anxiety"Carol ScottStory by: Regina Y. Hicks
Teleplay by: Peter Freedman
November 25, 1990 (1990-11-25)
Terry harbors a fear of flying due to his acrophobia. Katie tries to use a psychological method to get Terry to overcome his fear of heights on the roof, but a gust of wind causes everyone to get locked out of the building.
1313"Puppet Regime"Rob SchillerPeter FreedmanDecember 16, 1990 (1990-12-16)
1414"Christmas Show '90"Rob SchillerMichael J. WeithornDecember 23, 1990 (1990-12-23)
1515"Moment of Ruth"Rob SchillerLloyd Garver & Regina Y. HicksJanuary 13, 1991 (1991-01-13)
1616"A Real Pain"Rob SchillerStan SeidelFebruary 3, 1991 (1991-02-03)
1717"The Tender Trap"Carol ScottPeter Freedman & Anne ConvyFebruary 10, 1991 (1991-02-10)
1818"Opposites Attract"Rob SchillerStan SeidelFebruary 17, 1991 (1991-02-17)
1919"Homies Alone"Arlene SanfordStory by: Peter Freedman
Teleplay by: Regina Hicks & Stan Seidel
March 3, 1991 (1991-03-03)
2020"Daughter Dearest"Peter BonerzRegina Y. HicksMarch 24, 1991 (1991-03-24)
Katie dates a fellow activist, but Terry has an intuition that the man is trying to bed her, causing Ron to show protective concern for his stepdaughter.
2121"A Matter of Principal"Peter BonerzWilliam SchifrinApril 14, 1991 (1991-04-14)
2222"Superman, Superego"Michael J. WeithornMichael J. WeithornApril 21, 1991 (1991-04-21)
2323"Prisoners of Love"Rob SchillerStory by: Regina Y. Hicks
Teleplay by: Peter Freedman & Stan Seidel
April 28, 1991 (1991-04-28)
2424"Favorite Son"Rob SchillerKermit FrazierMay 12, 1991 (1991-05-12)

Season 2 (1991–92)

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
251"Lester X" Rob Schiller Linda M. YearwoodAugust 22, 1991 (1991-08-22)
Nobody in the family knows what to do with Lester after he reads The Autobiography of Malcolm X ...and then adopts the views therein, renaming himself "Abdul X". Ultimately, Malcolm's philosophies fail to apply in Lester's everyday life.
262"Strange Bedfellows"M.J. McDonnellStan SeidelSeptember 12, 1991 (1991-09-12)
273"Splendor in the Basement"Rob SchillerStory by: Robert Rabinowitz
Teleplay by: Michael J. Weithorn
September 15, 1991 (1991-09-15)
284"Yo' House, Mama: Part 1"Rob Schiller Kim Bass & Peter FreedmanSeptember 22, 1991 (1991-09-22)
295"Yo' House, Mama: Part 2"Rob SchillerKim Bass & Peter FreedmanSeptember 29, 1991 (1991-09-29)
306"Presumed Guilty"Dennis ErdmanAnne ConvyOctober 6, 1991 (1991-10-06)
317"Not My Sister, Brother"Rob SchillerRegina Y. HicksOctober 20, 1991 (1991-10-20)
328"Brotherly Love"Rob SchillerMichael J. Weithorn & Alan Uger November 3, 1991 (1991-11-03)
339"Three for All"M. J. McConnellStory by: Stan Seidel
Teleplay by: Regina Y. Hicks & Peter Freedman
November 10, 1991 (1991-11-10)
3410"Seems Like Old Times"Rob SchillerAlan UgerDecember 8, 1991 (1991-12-08)
3511"Broken Home: Part 1"Rob SchillerStan Seidel & Peter FreedmanDecember 15, 1991 (1991-12-15)
3612"Broken Home: Part 2"Rob SchillerStan Seidel & Peter FreedmanDecember 22, 1991 (1991-12-22)
3713"Readin', Ritin' and Runnin"Rob SchillerKim BassDecember 29, 1991 (1991-12-29)
3814"Photo Opportunity" Michael J. Weithorn Michael J. WeithornJanuary 5, 1992 (1992-01-05)
3915"Art Attack"Rob SchillerRegina Y. HicksJanuary 12, 1992 (1992-01-12)
4016"The Beat Goes On"Rob SchillerLinda M. YearwoodFebruary 2, 1992 (1992-02-02)
4117"Half a Man"Rob SchillerMichael J. WeithornFebruary 9, 1992 (1992-02-09)
4218"In a Flash"Carol ScottKim BassFebruary 16, 1992 (1992-02-16)
4319"Affirmative Reaction"Kenneth R. ShapiroJeffrey JosephMarch 1, 1992 (1992-03-01)
4420"Feelings Up"Rob SchillerTBAMarch 22, 1992 (1992-03-22)
4521"Word to the Mother"Rob SchillerStory by: Peter Freedman
Teleplay by: Regina Y. Hicks & Stan Seidel
April 12, 1992 (1992-04-12)


According to the show's creator, he claimed that the theme of interracial romance is one of the last remaining blatant taboos. [3]

Related Research Articles

<i>Good Times</i> American sitcom

Good Times is an American television sitcom that aired for six seasons on CBS, from February 8, 1974, to August 1, 1979. Created by Eric Monte and Mike Evans and developed by executive producer Norman Lear, it was television's first African American two-parent family sitcom. Good Times is a spin-off of Maude, which itself is a spin-off of All in the Family, making Good Times the first television spin-off from another spin-off. The first two episodes are notable for their strong, liberal, sociopolitical stance, representing an attitude of 1970's progressivism.

Nancy Walker American actress and musical comedy performer

Nancy Walker was an American actress and comedian of stage, screen, and television. She was also a film and television director. During her five-decade-long career, she may be best remembered for her long-running roles as Mildred on McMillan & Wife and Ida Morgenstern, who first appeared on several episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and later became a prominent recurring character on the spinoff series Rhoda.

Cleavon Little American actor (1939–1992)

Cleavon Jake Little was an American stage, film, and television actor. He began his career in the late 1960s on the stage. In 1970, he starred in the Broadway production of Purlie, for which he earned both a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award. His first leading television role was that of the irreverent Dr. Jerry Noland on the ABC sitcom Temperatures Rising (1972–1974). While starring in the sitcom, Little appeared in what has become his signature performance, portraying Sheriff Bart in the 1974 Mel Brooks comedy film Blazing Saddles.

Kathleen Freeman American actress (1919–2001)

Kathleen Freeman was an American actress. In a career that spanned more than 50 years, she portrayed acerbic maids, secretaries, teachers, busybodies, nurses, and battle-axe neighbors and relatives, almost invariably to comic effect. In film, she is perhaps best remembered for appearing in 11 Jerry Lewis comedies in the 1950s and 1960s, The Blues Brothers (1980) and its sequel, and Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult (1994).

Diane Farr American actress, producer, and writer

Diane Farr is an American actress, producer, and writer. She is known for her roles as the FBI agent Megan Reeves in the CBS television series Numb3rs and the firefighter Laura Miles in Rescue Me.

Mona Freeman American actress (1926-2014)

Monica Elizabeth "Mona" Freeman was an American actress and painter.

A flashforward is a scene that temporarily takes the narrative forward in time from the current point of the story in literature, film, television and other media. Flashforwards are often used to represent events expected, projected, or imagined to occur in the future. They may also reveal significant parts of the story that have not yet occurred, but soon will in greater detail. It is similar to foreshadowing, in which future events are not shown but rather implicitly hinted at. It is also similar to an ellipsis, which takes the narrative forward and is intended to skim over boring or uninteresting details, for example the aging of a character. It is primarily a postmodern narrative device, named by analogy to the more traditional flashback, which reveals events that occurred in the past.

Jeanne Bates American actress (1918–2007)

Jeanne Bates was an American radio, film and television actress. After performing in radio serials, she signed a contract with Columbia Pictures in 1942 which began her career in films both in bit parts and larger roles in a series of horror films and noirs, including The Return of the Vampire (1943) and Shadows in the Night (1946).

Brigid Brannagh American actress

Brigid Brannagh is an American actress. She has been credited as Brigid Brannagh, Brigid Brannah, Brigid Brannaugh, Brigid Walsh, and Brigid Conley Walsh.

Frankie Faison American actor

Frankie Russel Faison is an American actor known for his role as Deputy Commissioner, and, later, Commissioner, Ervin Burrell in the HBO series The Wire, as Barney Matthews in the Hannibal Lecter franchise, and as Sugar Bates in the Cinemax series Banshee.

<i>Temperatures Rising</i> 1970s American sitcom television series

Temperatures Rising is an American television sitcom that aired on the ABC network from September 12, 1972 to August 29, 1974. During its 46-episode run, it was presented in three different formats and cast line-ups. The series was developed for the network by William Asher and Harry Ackerman for Ashmont Productions and Screen Gems. Set in a fictional Washington, D.C. hospital, the series first featured James Whitmore as a no-nonsense chief of staff, forced to deal with the outlandish antics of a young intern and three nurses.

Mike Evans (actor) American actor

Michael Jonas Evans was an American actor, best known as Lionel Jefferson on both All in the Family and The Jeffersons. He was also a guest celebrity panelist on the TV game show Match Game.

<i>Dear John</i> (American TV series)

Dear John is an American sitcom television series that aired on NBC from October 6, 1988 to July 22, 1992. It was originally based on the British sitcom of the same name. It was retitled Dear John USA when it was shown in the United Kingdom. During its four-season run, it was bounced to and from various time periods on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. It moved from its post-Cheers slot on Thursdays to a post-Night Court slot on Wednesdays in 1990.

<i>Abby</i> (TV series) American sitcom

Abby is an American sitcom created by Nat Bernstein and Mitchel Katlin that aired for one season on UPN from January 6, 2003, to March 4, 2003. The show revolves around television producer Abigail "Abby" Walker and her relationship with her ex-boyfriend Will Jeffries. After they break up in the pilot episode, they agree to live together as friends in their rent-controlled San Francisco apartment.

Stephanie Faracy is an American actress. She is known for playing supporting roles in films include Heaven Can Wait (1978), Scavenger Hunt (1979), Blind Date (1987), The Great Outdoors (1988), Hocus Pocus (1993), Sideways (2004), Flightplan (2005), and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016). On television, Faracy has had leading roles in a number of short-lived sitcoms, most significantly True Colors (1990–92).

Mayhem (comics) Comics character

Mayhem is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Adam Jeffries is an American actor. He is best known for his roles as Lester Freeman on the short-lived Fox sitcom True Colors.


  1. "True Colors". TV Guide .
  2. "Cleavon Little, Award-Winning Actor, Dies at 53". The New York Times . October 23, 1992. Retrieved 2010-10-28. Cleavon Little, the actor best remembered for his role as a black sheriff hired to save a redneck town in Mel Brooks's 1974 comedy Blazing Saddles, died yesterday at his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He was 53 years old. He died of colon cancer, said David C. Pollick, his publicity agent in Los Angeles.
  3. "Ready for Prime Time Players, Part II" (PDF). Broadcasting . 1990-06-25. Retrieved 2021-09-22.