Raven Symone (born December 10, 1985), known professionally as Raven
or Raven, is an American actress, singer-songwriter, dancer, and television
producer. She is best known for her television roles as Olivia Kendall on
The Cosby Show, Nicole Lee on Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, Galleria Garibaldi on
The Cheetah Girls and The Cheetah Girls 2 and as Raven Baxter on her own
show, That's So Raven. Raven owns a "how-to" video website, Raven Presents,
which is used as her official website. Raven Symone has also lent her voice
to the animated series Kim Possible, for the character Monique.
Raven was born in Atlanta, Georgia to Lydia (née Gaulden) and Christopher B. Pearman. Raven lived in Ossining, New York where she attended Park School. As an infant, she worked for Atlanta's Young Faces Inc. Modelling Agency and was featured in local print advertisements. At age two, she worked with Ford Models in New York City and appeared in ads for Ritz crackers, Jell-O, Fisher-Price, and Cool Whip. At age three, she auditioned for the film Ghost Dad. She was considered too young for the role, but was recommended for a part on The Cosby Show and was eventually cast as Olivia in September 1989. The character was the three-year-old stepdaughter of Denise Huxtable (Lisa Bonet), the main character's daughter. Raven played the part until the series ended in 1992. In Fall 1993, Raven joined the cast of ABC's sitcom Hangin' with Mr. Cooper as Nicole, the cousin of Mark Curry's character Mark Cooper. Raven went on to have roles in films such as 1998's Dr. Dolittle, 1999's Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, and 2001's Dr. Dolittle 2.
When she was just two, she was signed by the Ford Modeling Agency and her
family moved to New York to help advance her career. In 1989, Raven
auditioned for a part in the Bill Cosby movie, Ghost Dad. She was a little
too young for the part, but Bill Cosby liked her so much that he found a
part for her on his show, The Cosby Show, as his grand-daughter Olivia.
Raven played the part of Olivia until 1992. In 1992 Raven appeared on The
Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air as Will's mother's boyfriend's daughter. Within a
year after The Cosby Show ended, Raven landed the role of Nicole Lee on the
show Hangin' with Mr. Cooper. During her time on the show, she managed to
land her first big screen role in the movie The Little Rascals, playing
Stymie's girlfriend. She was then cast in the Eddie Murphy comedy Dr.
Dolittle and Dr. Dolittle 2 as Charisse Dolittle playing Eddie Murphy's
In 2002, Raven auditioned for a role on an up-and-coming series for the Disney Channel titled Absolutely Psychic, about a teenager with psychic abilities. Initially, Raven was cast as the role of the best friend. But after being reviewed, Disney executives decided to cast her as the lead character Raven Baxter and change the series name to That's So Raven, which débuted on January 17, 2003. It is Disney Channel's highest-rated and longest-running series. It spawned Disney's most successful franchise, including soundtracks, dolls, episode DVDs, and video games. During the her time on the show, Raven provided the voice of Danielle on Fat Albert and made an appearance on The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement both in 2004. In 2005 and 2007, That's So Raven was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program. The show also was the first show in Disney history to have a spin-off, Cory in the House.
In 2003, Raven starred as lead singer Galleria Garibaldi in The Cheetah Girls, which is a Disney Channel Original Movie that is about four city girls who have dreams of becoming superstars. The movie was Disney Channel's first musical and spawned a massive franchise, much like That's So Raven, including dolls, video games, platinum-selling soundtracks and more. In 2006, Raven reprised her role as Galleria Garibaldi and starred in The Cheetah Girls 2. The film and its soundtrack were huge commercial hits and brought in more than 8 million viewers opening night, making it (at its time) Disney Channel's most-watched movie. Its soundtrack also débuted at number eight, on the Billboard Top 200 and went on to become certified for platinum-level sales by the RIAA. Raven also served as executive producer of the film.
In 2007 Raven guest-starred on an episode of Cory in the House. That episode brought in 5 million viewers, making it the highest rated one of the series. During the summer of 2007, Raven filmed her first lead film role in College Road Trip, which co-starred Martin Lawrence.
In 2008, The Cheetah Girls: One World began production, but Raven did not return to reprise her role as Galleria, due to problems with her former Cheetah Girls on the set of Cheetah Girls 2. According to an interview in June 2006, she stated that there were "territorial issues" and "catfights", which led to a strained friendship with the other three girls.
Raven has signed on to appear as a leading role in the upcoming sequel to Meet the Fockers in the upcoming 2011 comedy Little Fockers.
Raven's debut album, Here's to New Dreams, was released on June 22, 1993. It spawned two commercially released singles: "That's What Little Girls Are Made Of" and "Raven Is the Flavor". "That's What Little Girls Are Made Of" was Raven's most successful single, reaching number sixty-eight on the Billboard Hot 100. The Undeniable album was bought up by TMG Records, who re-issued the album on November 14, 2006 under the title From Then Until. Although her first album was full of kid-rap, she used this album to display her vocal ability while still holding true to her rap roots.
Raven sang some songs on the That's So Raven soundtrack album to the Disney Channel original series of the same name. The album debuted and peaked at #44 on the Billboard 200 and has been certified Gold by the RIAA for sales of 500,000 copies. She also sang some tracks on the That's So Raven Too!, which is the second soundtrack album from the hit Disney Channel original series, That's So Raven. The soundtrack debuted and peaked at #44, on the Billboard 200, selling 22,600 copies in its first week. Since then, the soundtrack has sold 200,000 copies (as of 2007). In early 2003, Raven signed a deal with Hollywood Records (A Disney owned label). On September 21, 2004, she released her third album This Is My Time. The album spawned one commercially released single, "Backflip", which received heavy rotation on both Disney Channel, as well on BET. The album debuted and peaked at number fifty-one on the Billboard 200 selling 19,000 copies in its first week of release and becoming her most successful album yet. This Is My Time has sold 315,000 copies in the U.S. and 520,000 copies worldwide. In 2005 Raven embarked on a mini-concert tour to promote the album. Raven made guest spots during the Summer of 2005 , but didn't tour to promote the album until 2006.
Raven's fourth studio album Raven was released on April 29, 2008. The album features production by Sean Garrett (Beyoncé), The J.A.M. (Leona Lewis), Knightwritaz (singer Mario's production team), and The Clutch (Timbaland, Ciara). The first single released was "Double Dutch Bus" a remake of Frankie Smith's 1981 funk track. The single was released to radio on February 9, while the video was released on February 18, 2008. The single has been Raven's most downloaded song on iTunes. It peaked at #9 on the iTunes Top R&B/Soul Downloads chart. The album debuted at #159 on Billboard's Top 200. Raven also planned on starting her first all arena headlining tour The Pajama Party Tour this Spring, to promote her album but due to what promoters call "unforeseen difficulties" the tour was postponed until further notice. But during a recent interview it was confirmed that Raven is currently rescheduling her tour and that it will kick off later this summer, but instead of being an all-arena tour, it will include both arena and amphitheatre venues. The new tour name is Raven: Live in Concert Tour. Also, in the Summer of 2008, Raven will be the special host of Disney's Block Party Tour.
During the middle of Raven's 2008 Summer tour, It was officially announced that Raven and Hollywood Records had parted ways; after Raven had completed her 2 CD deal with the company, she decided not to renew her contract. In a recent interview with Teenmag.com Raven announced that in late 2009, she would return to the studio to record her next album. She also stated that this would be her most mature album yet. This will be Raven's first studio album that she's released since she has left Disney's Hollywood Records. This will also be Raven's second independent album.
This Raven Symone Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub