Telma Louise Hopkins (born October 28, 1948) is an American singer and actress. She rose to prominence as a member of the 1970s pop music group Tony Orlando and Dawn, which had several number one songs. She also performed on the CBS variety show Tony Orlando and Dawn from 1974 to 1976 along with Tony Orlando and Joyce Vincent Wilson.
In the late 1970s, Hopkins began working as actress, playing roles on various sitcoms, including Bosom Buddies (1980–82), Gimme a Break! (1983–87) and Family Matters (1989–1997) as Rachel. As lead actress, she starred on Getting By from 1993 to 1994. In later years, Hopkins was regular cast member on Half & Half (2002–06), Are We There Yet? (2010–13), and short-lived Partners (2014). In film, she co-starred in 1984 science fiction film Trancers and in its sequels Trancers II (1991) and Trancers III (1992), and well as appeared in The Wood (1999) and The Love Guru (2008).
Hopkins started her career as a background singer in Detroit, Michigan, singing on many of the Golden World and Motown hits and working with legendary acts like The Four Tops and Marvin Gaye. She also sang back up for Isaac Hayes and can be heard famously exclaiming "Shut your mouth!" on Hayes' hit song "Theme from Shaft" as well as the hip hop track "Thuggish Ruggish Bone". In 1971, Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson were recruited by Tony Orlando to form the vocal group Dawn. (Orlando had released the singles "Candida" and "Knock Three Times", recorded with session vocalists Linda November and Toni Wine backing him, under the name Dawn; when the singles charted, Orlando found himself needing to assemble an actual backing group to tour and record with.) As a recording act, Tony Orlando and Dawn would have much success throughout the second half of the 1970s, releasing 16 top-40 singles, three of which reached #1, and starring in a CBS variety show (entitled Tony Orlando and Dawn) from 1974 to 1976. In 1977, Tony Orlando and Dawn announced their retirement.
In 1979, Hopkins made her acting debut playing Daisy in the ABC miniseries Roots: The Next Generations. Later that year, she co-starred alongside Eileen Brennan on the short-lived ABC sitcom A New Kind of Family. The following year, she was cast opposite Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari in another ABC sitcom, Bosom Buddies. The series was cancelled in 1982 after two seasons. She also guest-starred on The Love Boat, Fantasy Island and The New Odd Couple during early 1980s.
In 1983, Hopkins joined the cast of NBC sitcom Gimme a Break! starring Nell Carter. She played Adelaide "Addy" Wilson, Nell's childhood friend, to series finale in 1987. In 1989, Hopkins began starring as Rachel Baines-Crawford in the ABC sitcom Family Matters. She left the series after four season as regular cast member, making guest appearances in later years to its finale in 1997. She left Family Matters for starring as series' lead in ABC sitcom Getting By which aired from 1993 to 1994.
Hopkins also has had number of supporting film roles. She played Engineer Ruth "Ruthie" Raines in the science fiction film Trancers (1984) starring Tim Thomerson and Helen Hunt, and its sequels Trancers II (1991) and Trancers III (1992). In later years, she appeared as Richard T. Jones' mother in the romantic comedy The Wood (1999), and played Romany Malco's mother in the comedy film The Love Guru (2008). She starred in the play JD Lawrence's The Clean Up Woman in October 2008.
From 2002 to 2006, Hopkins starred in the UPN sitcom Half & Half alongside Rachel True, Essence Atkins and Valarie Pettiford. She had the recurring roles on The Hughleys and Any Day Now. From 2010 to 2013, she co-starred alongside Terry Crews and Essence Atkins in the TBS sitcom Are We There Yet?. In 2014, she played Martin Lawrence's mother on the FX sitcom Partners. In 2016, she was cast as Jerrika Hinton' mother in the ABC comedy pilot Toast produced by ShondaLand.
Hopkins was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and raised in Highland Park, Michigan. She has one son, from her marriage to Donald B. Allen.
Hopkins often volunteers her time for charitable causes. She has worked with Caring For Babies with AIDS, Act on Arthritis, and the PTA. She also mentors children. Hopkins remains a huge supporter of inspirational radio and granted permission for The Jazz Joy and Roy radio show to use her supportive remarks on the program's promos. Hopkins said to Jazz Joy and Roy, "I was raised by a grandmother who told me I could do whatever I wanted to do, as long as I was willing to work hard for it...."