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Sept. 26, 1935 – Feb. 19, 2013

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Actor Lou Myers, best known for his role as ornery restaurant owner Mr. Gaines on the television series “A Different World,” has died.

Tonia McDonald of Myers’ nonprofit, Global Business Incubation Inc., said Myers died Tuesday night in Charleston Area Medical Center in West Virginia. She said he was 77. McDonald said Wednesday that Myers had been in and out of the hospital since before Christmas and collapsed recently. An autopsy was planned.

A native of Chesapeake, W.Va., Myers had returned to the state and lived in the Charleston area.

His TV credits included “NYPD Blue,” “E.R.,” “The Cosby Show,” and “Touched by an Angel.”

He also appeared in a number of films, including “Tin Cup,” “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” and “Wedding Planner.”

“A Different World” ran from 1987 to 1993 and originally starred Lisa Bonet from “Cosby” fame. Myers said he owed his introduction to Hollywood to Bill Cosby.

Myers also appeared on Broadway including “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” African American Style and “Oprah Winfrey’s The Color Purple.”

In 2005, the Appalachian Education Initiative listed Myers as one of 50 “Outstanding Creative Artists” from the state of West Virginia and featured him in their coffee table book “Art & Soul.”

He began singing jazz and blues with the touring company of “Negro Music in Vogue,” according to a biography provided by McDonald.

His Cabaret show has been acclaimed in Berlin, Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York, as well as Los Angeles at the Roosevelt Hotel.