Most of us know the story of how Family Matters' Judy Winslow, played by Jaimee Foxworth, went upstairs to her room and never came back down. The character's disappearance has become a defining moment in 90s pop culture--up there with The Fresh Prince of Bel Air's replacement of "dark skin Aunt Viv" with "light skin Aunt Viv"--yielding just as much speculation and many career consequences.
Foxworth was fired from Family Matters due to budgetary considerations, according to the show's creator William Bickley, and she would later deal with recovering from drug and alcohol abuse.
Family Matters costar Darius McCrary, who played Eddie Winslow, talked about why he thinks Foxworth was asked to leave the show and how it affected him. "I just think that what happened to Jamie Foxworth, who is just a beautiful...multitalented individual...I think it was just a casualty of war, and all is fair in war," he said, the "war" being the acting and ratings landscape itself.
"I myself have been fired from a gig," he continued, explaining how he was fired from Designing Women for not being able to adapt to a multicamera sitcom format after coming from awards season darling Mississippi Burning. "...There are just certain things that unless you're a seasoned veteran you're just not going to know [as a kid]," he said,"...and you depend on your director to give you the direction. And as a director, he fired me as a kid. It broke my heart." Coincidentally, McCrary's role on Designing Women went to Shavar Ross, who would later appeared on Family Matters as one of Eddie's friends, Weasel.
"Whatever happened [with Foxworth], whatever took place, it just didn't work for the producers," he continued. "In this game, it's not about what works for you as a talent. It's about what works for the producers...This industry is not our game. If you look at yourself as a fish in an aquarium, you'll be able to swim a whole lot easier."
He said that Foxworth's removal from the show "was like losing a family member" and that he's still close with her and her family. But he did say her removal made him rethink his position on the show.
"I tightened up on my backstroke," he said. "It didn't put fear [in me], it made me respect the blessing. It made me respect the privilege and it brought me to a new level of awareness. And I felt for her...I felt for her as a human being."
If you remember correctly, Foxworth herself was a recast. Valerie Jones portrayed the role of Judy in the pilot.
Check out the video below for more of McCrary's comments.
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