He may not be a household name, but he’s a star in his niche. An actor who has worked with Hollywood heavyweights like Jada Pinkett, Will Smith, Angela Bassett, Eddie Murphy, and Forest Whitaker, Allen Payne’s most prominent role is as C.J. in the American sitcom, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. House of Payne followed the lives of an Atlanta-based multigenerational family that lived under one roof. The family was led by patriarch Curtis Payne and his wife, Ella.
But he is also known for being Lance in the last two seasons of The Cosby Show, as well as being Gerald “Gee Money” Wells, the second-in-command of a drug-running gang in the movie, New Jack City, which had Wesley Snipes in the lead role of Nino Brown.
How It All Started in Harlem, New York City
Allen Payne’s story starts in the jazz-infused neighborhood of Harlem, New York City. Harlem, in the northern area of the Manhattan borough, is well known for its rich diversity of locals and visitors, as well as its African-American history and heritage. Payne was born as Allen Roberts, the eldest of his siblings. He attended Pennsauken High School, a four-year public high school located in Pennsauken Township, in the Camden County area of New Jersey.
From Pennsauken High, he got into acting school, where he discovered his passion for acting. After graduation, Allen Payne made his television debut in The Cosby Show, one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful American television sitcoms. He appeared as Lance Rodman in a 1990 episode of the show. Then, for 10 episodes from ’90 to ’92, he remained as Lance, who ended up becoming Charmaine’s boyfriend.
Earning fame points for appearing in The Cosby Show, Payne landed himself in yet another all-time favorite family sitcom, none other than The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He appeared in the guest role of Marcus Stokes for an episode in 1992. The same year, he returned as Lance in an episode of the spin-off series, A Different World.
On the big screen, Allen Payne made his debut when he was 20 as supporting character Kadim in the 1989 crime and dance movie, Rooftops. He followed this up with New Jack City, an action crime movie, where he played the part of Gee Money. In his next acting role, Payne got to star alongside Chris Rock as Dead Mike in the hip-hop parody movie, CB4. The movie follows the journey of a fictional rap group named CB4, a name they gave themselves from the prison block they are allegedly formed in, Cell Block 4. The film featured guest appearances from celebrities and musicians such as Halle Berry, Ice-T, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, and Shaquille O’Neal.
Allen Payne’s Starring Roles and House of Payne
Payne’s debut leading role was in ’94 when he was Jason Alexander in the romantic drama movie, Jason’s Lyric. In Jason’s Lyric, Allen Payne got to work alongside Jada Pinkett, Lisa Nicole Carson, Forest Whitaker, and Eddie Griffin. The following year, he bumped up his film credits by scoring the lead role of Cole Evans in the 1995 war film, The Walking Dead. Payne kept his game up, co-starring with Eddie Murphy, Angela Bassett, John Witherspoon, and Joanna Cassidy in the 1995 comedy horror movie, Vampire in Brooklyn.
Other movies Allen Payne were in include A Price Above Rubies, The Perfect Storm, Blue Hill Avenue, Playas Ball, and Crossover. After Crossover, which was released in 2006, Payne has stayed off the big screen, choosing instead to remain in the series he’s most known for. In 2007, Payne took on the role of Clarence James (C.J.) Payne in the television sitcom, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. House of Payne ran on TBS from 2007 up till 2012, when the eighth season’s finale aired.
A spin-off series, The Paynes, was ordered by the Oprah Winfrey Network. A sequel to House of Payne, the spinoff saw the Paynes family move to Sun Coast, Florida, after attending the funeral of Curtis’ uncle. The original cast returned to reprise their roles for 38 episodes. On February 4, 2020, it was confirmed that the original series, House of Payne, would have a ninth season set to premiere on BET.
What We Know About His Financial Standing
Allen Payne has shared screen time with some big names in the movie industry, so one would imagine his net worth would be quite big. But ever since his role as Kemp in Crossover, Payne has stayed on the small screen as C.J. Payne for over a decade. While it may not be a worldwide sensation, House of Payne was successful enough to get its spinoff series and a revival. Allen is enjoying his time with the House of Payne cast.
Over the years, Allen Payne’s acting career has been able to net him a nice net worth estimated at $5 million. Even though his worth isn’t in the tens of millions, Payne is still an actor that is very much admired by his co-workers, as well as his fans. Growing up in Harlem was tough for Payne, but he managed to turn it around and find his passion for acting. Looking at the actor, you can say he’s earned his keep.
Amazing Facts About Allen Payne’s Family
Allen Payne was born to his parents Allen Roberts, Snr., and Barbara Reeves. Reports have it that he has a younger brother, though the sibling’s name nor whereabouts are unknown. Growing up in Harlem, Payne was very close to his family, particularly his mother. When his mother passed away, Payne stayed away from the public eye for a spell to grieve for the loss.
With the way he keeps to himself, not to mention the fact that the actor has no social media presence, many fans have wondered if he’s a married man or not. On-screen, Allen plays the part of C.J., a man happily married to wife Janine with two daughters of his own. However, the real-life scenario is much different. Payne is believed to be single, as there has been no proof over the years to show he’s married. There have been rumors that he has a child, but again there has been no proof to confirm the claims.