The Moesha family is mourning the loss of one of its own. Lamont Bentley, who starred as Hakeem Campbell on the UPN sitcom, died Wednesday when he was thrown from his vehicle just outside Los Angeles. He was 31.
His manager, Susan Ferris, said Bentley was killed when his car skidded off a freeway around midnight.
A spokesman for the California Highway did not immediately return calls late Wednesday. But Craig Stevens, the senior deputy medical examiner for Ventura County, California, told Bentley’s hometown newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the actor “went up a highway off-ramp at a high rate of speed” and then tumbled down an embankment.
Bentley, who was on his way home from a Tuesday night screening of the independent short film Shards, was driving solo at the time of the wreck.
He was pronounced dead at 12:23 a.m. Wednesday.
“It’s like a candle being snuffed right out,” Ferris told the Associated Press.
“Yesterday became a very sad day when we heard of Lamont’s death,” Moesha cohorts Brandy and Ray J said in a joint statement Thursday.
“He has been a friend to us and our family while being a part of the Moesha family and after. Our hearts are sad. Lamont will be missed as a friend and as a real talent. We send our sincere condolences to his daughters and family.”
Although the actor is best known for his role on Moesha during the show’s 1996-2001 run, Bentley also appeared in a handful of films, including the 2001 Snoop Dogg flick The Wash, the 1997 TV movie Buffalo Soldiers and 1995’s Tales from the Hood, as well as the 1994 TV series South Central.
Bentley also made guest appearances on shows like NYPD Blue, Clueless, Family Matters, Soul Food and the Moesha spinoff, The Parkers.
The actor also was an aspiring rapper, but Bentley’s hip-hop project Uprise never secured a record deal with a major label.
Bentley is survived by his two daughters and his mother.