Margaret "Maggie" Lauten was a main character in the first season of A Different World. The part of Maggie was played by Marisa Tomei, who would go on to big screen acting fame for her role as Mona Lisa Vito in the 1992 Oscar-winning comedy My Cousin Vinny.
A "military brat", Maggie was one of the few white students at predominately African-American Hillman College. During Season 1, she majored in journalism and was involved in a long-distance relationship with Mike. She transferred to Hillman at the start of sophomore year, roommate of Denise Huxtable and Jaleesa Vinson. During the summer of 1988, Maggie vacationed in Greece with Jaleesa, but soon disappeared after Season 1.
- In the very beginning, A Different World was envisioned by NBC-TV executives and the show's original producers as a show about a white girl’s experiences while attending a historically black college. Meg Ryan, later of When Harry Met Sally with Billy Crystal and also Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail film fame with Tom Hanks, was originally cast in the lead as Maggie Lauten, but before the pilot she decided to step away from television and concentrate on films. So the setup changed and the series became about Denise adjusting to life away from her family, and the character of Maggie (by this time, assumed by Marisa Tomei) had a significantly smaller role as Denise’s roommate.
- It has been said that if Marisa Tomei would of stayed on the show after season 1, Debbie Allen, the shows producer from seasons 2-6 reportedly would have given Magge a black boyfriend, where Dwayne Wayne, who wound up courting and then marrying Whitley Gilbert would have been Maggie's love interest instead, as it was reportedly planned to have Dwayne bring her home to visit his family for Thanksgiving to meet his parents, who would have disapproved of the interracial relationship.