Artimus Lamont Gardison Bentley (October 25, 1973 – January 19, 2005), better known professionally as Lamont Bentley, was an American actor and rapper best known for his role as Hakeem Campbell on the UPN sitcom Moesha and the spin-off The Parkers. Bentley was also known for his role as Crazy K in the 1995 horror film Tales from the Hood and C-Money in the 2001 film The Wash featuring Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg.
Artimus Lamont Gardison Bentley was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Loyce Bentley and Donald L. Gardison. Bentley and his sister grew up on Milwaukee’s north side of town and attended Webster Middle School. He moved to Los Angeles with Loyce, who wished to pursue a career as a professional singer. He was called “Cuz” and “My Guy” by his friends.
Bentley dropped out of high school to pursue his own acting career, and had practiced autographs by the age of 12. He had to take odd jobs in movie theaters, a fish market, and a grocery store, among other places as he waited for his big break. His appearance enabled him to play the part of teens even into his twenties, and he landed a variety of small parts in television series and movies before landing bigger roles.
Debuting in a 1986 Starburst commercial, he began his career as a child actor appearing in television commercials and guest spots on various television series before landing a role on the short-lived but critically acclaimed television series South Central in 1994. His first feature film role came in the 1995 horror movie Tales from the Hood, about the inner-city ganglands, an anthology of four stories focused on the consequences of the gang lifestyle. In that particular film, he played Crazy K a cold and angry character. He once played a teenage father who opted to stay home with his child instead of turn out for the high school football team in a public service television announcement. In 1995, South Central creator Ralph Farquhar cast Bentley in the series Moesha as Hakeem Campbell, the always hungry friend of Moesha, which ran for six seasons on UPN.
After Moesha ended, Bentley continued acting while pursuing a career as a rapper. In 2000, it was alleged that he had a relationship with both co-stars, Countess Vaughn and Shar Jackson, but those were both soon proven to be false. Bentley threatened to leave Moesha in the same year, stating, “I wasn’t getting paid and it seemed … very fucking wrong.” In 2001, he appeared as C-Money in The Wash opposite Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. That same year, he portrayed Tupac Shakur in the television biopic Too Legit: The MC Hammer Story. Bentley made one of his last onscreen appearances in Spike Lee’s crime drama Sucker Free City.
Shortly after midnight on January 19, 2005, Bentley was driving alone when he was killed in a single-car accident in southern California’s Ventura County. He was driving on Highway 118 near Simi Valley (30 miles northwest of Los Angeles). Witnesses to the accident stated that Bentley’s vehicle was traveling at a high speed towards the Rocky Peak Fire Road off ramp. After running through a stop sign, the vehicle went through a chain-link fence situated across the street and rolled down an embankment. Bentley was ejected from the vehicle into traffic where five cars struck him. He sustained multiple blunt force injuries and was pronounced dead at 12:23 a.m. Bentley was survived by his two daughters and his mother, who lived with him in Granada Hills, Los Angeles.
A memorial service for Bentley was held at the Serenity Funeral Home in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 24, 2005. He was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills.
|1989||Duet||Snake||Episode: “Brother from Another Zip Code”|
|1990||Gabriel’s Fire||Teen||Episode: “Windows”|
|1991||Equal Justice||Childs||Episode: “Courting Disaster”|
|1994||South Central||Rashad||5 episodes|
|1995||Family Matters||Andre Corleone||Episode: “An Unlikely Match”|
|1995||CBS Schoolbreak Special||Dom||Episode: “What About Your Friends”|
|1995||Tales from the Hood||Crazy K|
|1995||The Parent ‘Hood||Damon||Episode: “Robert in the ‘Hood”|
|1995||Courthouse||Raymond||Episode: “One Flew Over the Courthouse”|
|1996||The Client||K-Boy-Kool||Episode: “Motherless Child”|
|1996–2001||Moesha||Hakeem Campbell||127 episodes|
|1997||A Day in the Life of Mia|
|1997||The Sentinel||Marcus Watson||Episode: “Pennies from Heaven”|
|1997||Buffalo Soldiers||Corporal Sea||Television movie|
|1998||NYPD Blue||Arnell||Episode: “Honeymoon at Viagra Falls”|
|1999||Clueless||Hakeem||Episode: “Prom Misses, Prom Misses”|
|1999–2002||The Parkers||Hakeem Campbell||3 episodes|
|2000||Soul Food||Pruitt||Episode: “Bad Luck”|
|2001||Too Legit: The MC Hammer Story||Tupac Shakur||Television movie|
|2002||The Proud Family||Gary (Voice)||Episode: “Hip-Hop Helicopter”|
|2004||Sucker Free City||Ahmir||Television movie|
|2005||The Tenants||Male Partygoer|
|2009||A Day in the Life||L Mob||Released posthumously|