The role of William Jerome Dent on the popular UPN and CW series Girlfriends introduced the world to Reggie Hayes. The sitcom aired “from 2000 to 2008 and catapulted Tracee Ellis Ross into the” stratosphere of American television. Ross went on to greater success with Black-Ish, while the rest of her cast mates seemed stuck in the past. Hayes, on the other hand, is experiencing something of a career renaissance and is having a major comeback on television’s biggest success.

Native of Chicago, Reggie Hayes began his acting career in the 1990s with roles in shows including Roswell, Being John Malkovich, Will & Grace, and Charlie’s Angels. He was cast as William on Girlfriends, the show’s lone male character opposite four strong female leads. For several seasons, he also played the role of Tracee’s unofficial love interest until the two finally tried to date.

He was a senior partner at Goldberg, Swedelson, McDonald & Lee and was previously married to Persia White’s character before moving on to another woman.

Due to low viewership, Girlfriends was canceled in 2008. After the series ended, Reggie appeared to work intermittently but struck rock bottom, forcing him to move in with his sister for a period. The years he went through were “pretty awful,” he said, reflecting on his experience. For a year, I made do with my residual checks; then, for the next six years, I lived in my sister’s garage.

After Girlfriends ended, Hayes claims that he was treated like “just another guy” and that he was not given the same opportunities that his female co-stars and the male leads of more successful shows like Friends were given. As I put it, “I had starred on this long-running show, but I wasn’t Matt LeBlanc or one of the other kids from ‘Friends’ who had doors opening for them after their show ended.”

Hayes was in the hospital for an episode of Black-ish with an undisclosed medical condition that required extensive testing when the ladies of Girlfriends reconnected. “I have congestive heart failure, and it was difficult to breathe,” he said. He was quoted as saying he had relocated from his sister’s garage to a Valley apartment with “nice roommates.”

Hayes struck big when he was cast as the show’s superintendent, Collins, on Abbott Elementary. Hayes, like series regulars Tyler James Williams and Sheryl Lee Ralph, is a nostalgic throwback among a group lead by the modern-day TV dynamo Quinta Brunson.

Reggie doesn’t appear to be bragging about his comeback, and a quick glance at his Instagram reveals that he hasn’t even commented about his new role. He had a significant role in the first season and is marked as having a “recurring role” on his IMDB page, so we may be seeing more of him in future seasons. Best wishes to him!

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