Reggie Hayes was introduced to the world as his character William Jerome Dent on the hit UPN and CW series Girlfriends. The show ran from 2000-2008 and helped establish Tracee Ellis Ross as a television powerhouse. While Ross would go on to even greater success on Black-Ish, her cast members all seemed to get lost in the nostalgia. Hayes is having a career resurgence however, and enjoying a massive comeback moment on TV’s biggest hit.
Reggie Hayes is a Chicago native who got his acting start in the 90s on projects like Roswell, Being John Malkovich, Will & Grace, and Charlie’s Angels. He would land the role of William on Girlfriends and played the sole male counterpart to its four lead women. He also served as Tracee’s unofficial love interest for seasons before the duo would eventually try to date an entertaining romance. He was a senior partner at Goldberg, Swedelson, McDonald, and Lee and married Persia White’s character during one point in the series as well, but ultimately ended up with another woman outside of the main cast.
Girlfriends was eventually canceled due to low ratings in 2008. Following the series, Reggie appeared to work on and off but hit a low that left him living with his sister for a while after all his money dried up. He discussed how hard it was for him, saying, “Those were pretty awful years. I made it work with my little residual checks for a year, and then I ended up moving into my sister’s garage for six years.” Hayes says he was treated like “just another guy” following Girlfriends ending and how no real doors opened for him like they did for his female cast or men on better-known shows like Friends. “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.”
When the ladies of Girlfriends reunited for an episode of Black-ish, Hayes was in the hospital dealing with an unknown issue that he said was requiring a lot of tests. “I have congestive heart failure, and it was difficult to breathe,” he confirmed. At the time, he said he had moved from his sister’s garage to a place in the Valley with “nice roommates.”
Well, Hayes hit the jackpot when he scored a role as Superintendent Collins on the new hit series Abbott Elementary. Much like series regular Tyler James Williams and Sheryl Lee Ralph, Hayes is a welcomed familiar face from a golden age of television sprinkled into a cast led by viral star turned television powerhouse, Quinta Brunson. Reggie seems humble about the resurgence, and one look at his IG, you’ll see he has not even posted about the role. He played a pivotal part in the season one finally and is listed as a “recurring role” on his IMDB which means we could be seeing more of him as the show continues to progress. Congrats to him.