Sinbad (born November, 11, 1956) played the part of Walter Oakes, the Hillman College athletic director and director of dorm director of Matthews Hall, and later Gilbert Hall,. on A Different World. He became well known in the 1990s from being featured on his own HBO specials, appearing on several television series, and starring in the comedy films Necessary Roughness, Houseguest, First Kid, Jingle All the Way, and Good Burger.

Early lifeEdit

Sinbad was born David Adkins in Benton Harbor, Michigan, the son of Louise and the Baptist Rev. Dr. Donald Beckley Adkins.[2][3][4] He has five siblings: Donna, Dorothea, Mark, Michael, and Donald.[5] Sinbad attended Benton Harbor High School. He attended college from 1974 to 1978 at the University of Denver in Denver, CO, where he lettered for two seasons for the school's basketball team.

Military serviceEdit

Sinbad served in the US Air Force as a boom operator aboard KC-135 Stratotankers. While assigned to the 384th Air Refueling Wing at McConnell AFB in Wichita, KS, he would often travel downtown to perform stand-up comedy. He competed as a comedian/MC in the Air Force's Talent Contest in 1981. Sinbad was almost dismissed with a dishonorable discharge for various misbehaviors, including going AWOL.[6]

Enterainment careerEdit

In an attempt to stand out in the entertainment industry, Adkins worked under the professional name Sinbad, which he chose out of admiration for Sinbad the Sailor.[6] He began his stand up comic career appearing on the syndicated TV series Star Star Search hosted by Ed McMahon. Sinbad won his round against fellow comedian Dennis Miller,[7] and made it all the way to the finals before losing to John Kassir.[8]

He soon was cast on The Redd Foxx Show, a short lived sitcom, playing Byron Lightfoot.

A Different WorldEdit

In 1987, Sinbad landed the role as Coach Walter Oakes in A Different World, a spin off of The Cosby Show built around Lisa Bonet's character Denise Huxtable. Previously, Sinbad appeared in a one-off role on The Cosby Show, as car salesperson Davis Sarrette. While Bonet only stayed with the program for a season,[9] Sinbad stayed with the cast from 1988 until 1991 in his role as Walter.

Personal lifeEdit

Sinbad married Meredith Fuller in 1985. They have two children together. The couple divorced in 1992, but remarried in 2002. The family's daily life together was chronicalized on the WeTV reality show titled Sinbad: It's Just Family in 2011.[10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Sinbad – Biography". Retrieved on December 21, 2013. 
  2. Sinbad Biography (1956-).
  5. Roberts, Tara. "Hanging out with Sinbad: more than a successful actor and comedian, at heart Sinbad's a down-home family man", Essence, October 1, 1995. Retrieved on March 17, 2007. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Collier, Aldore. "Sinbad talks about his divorce, single parenthood and his real name", Ebony, Johnson Publishing Company, Inc., June 1997. Retrieved on April 21, 2011. 
  7. USA Weekend, STRAIGHT TALK, By Jeffrey Zaslow, July 18–20, 1997. Retrieved May 13, 2010.
  9. Weintraub, Joanne. "'Different', but still the same; Cable revives black college sitcom", The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 14, 2006. Retrieved on March 19, 2007. 

External linksEdit