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Suzzanne Douglas, the actress best recognized for work on the long-running Warner Bros. sitcom The Parent ‘Hood, has died. She was 64.
In a statement sent to The Hollywood Reporter, Douglas’ rep said: “The industry has lost a truly talented artist with the passing of Suzzanne Douglas. She touched everyone who knew her and was lovely in every sense of the word. The family appreciates your support and asks for their privacy during this difficult time.”
Details of her death were not provided.
Douglas played matriarch Jerri Peterson on the The Parent ‘Hood, which also starred Robert Townsend and ran for five seasons (1995-99).
Townsend remembered Douglas on his Twitter account: “My heart is full ,because yesterday I lost, my amazing dancing partner on TV for 5 years Suzanne Douglas. We did “Work”on THE PARENT’HOOD.I just remember a lot of laughter and a lot of tears… her regal bright light will be missed.”
Her other television credits included appearances on Bones, The Good Wife, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, NYPD Blue, Touched by an Angel, I’ll Fly Away and The Parkers. She recently starred as Grace Cuffee on Ava DuVernay’s limited Netflix series, When They See Us.
DuVernay took to Twitter to pay tribute to the actress, whom she described as a “quiet, elegant force.” “A gentlewoman. A gem of a lady. A confident, caring actor who breathed life into the words and made them shimmer. I’m grateful that our paths in this life crossed. May she journey on in peace and love,” she tweeted.
On the film side, Douglas starred in How Stella Got Her Groove Back, School of Rock, The Inkwell, Jason’s Lyric, the 1989 dance drama Tap (she won an NAACP Image Award for her role), ABC’s 2003 remake of Sounder and Changing the Game (2011). She also portrayed Cissy Houston in the 2015 Lifetime movie Whitney.
Douglas’ Inkwell co-star Jada Pinkett Smith also paid tribute on Twitter writing, “I woke up this morning to the news that Suzzanne Douglas has passed away. I worked with Suzzanne in the film Inkwell. She was an elegant, gentle warm spirit. My deepest condolences to her family and loved ones. May she rest in love.”
On the stage, Douglas starred in such productions as The Threepenny Opera opposite Sting, The Tap Dance Kid and It’s a Grand Night for Singing. Other theater credits included Arthur Laurent’s Hallelujah, Baby! — Douglas was the first African-American to play Dr. Bearing in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play — and Wit and Crowns, which won an Image Award for ensemble performance. She also starred in productions of Henry V, Julius by Design and Regina Taylor’s The Drowning Crow.
Douglas also worked behind the camera, producing The Last Weekend — it won best short film at the Hollywood Black Film Festival — and co-producing Theresa Rebeck’s Love on the Rocks.
Born in Chicago, Douglas earned a bachelor’s degree at Illinois State University and a master’s in music degree at the Manhattan School of Music.
She also performed regularly as a singer and composer, performing music with her band that was shared on her website. Musicians Douglas has traveled with included Jon Faddis, Nate Adderley, Don Braden, T.S. Monk, Helen Sung, Stanley Turrentine, Gene Harris and Kenney Burrell.
An advocate of the arts, Douglas went on to serve as a lifetime member of Girl Scouts of America, The National Council of Negro Women, Sigma Alpha Lambda and Jack and Jill of America. She was also an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and served on its national board.
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