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Beloved 'The Parent ’Hood' Actress, Suzzanne Douglas, Has Joined The Ancestors At 64

Beloved 'The Parent ’Hood' Actress, Suzzanne Douglas, Has Joined The Ancestors At 64

She's been called home.

Suzzanne Douglas, the prolific actress of television, film, and Broadway, has passed away at her home in Martha's Vineyard after a years-long battle with cancer. She was 64-years-old. Her four-decade career included classic Black films such as “Jason’s Lyric” and “Inkwell." She was widely known for “The Parent ’Hood,” playing opposite Robert Townsend as Jerri Peterson - the wife, mother, and law student who appeared regally in every scene.  

Douglas was born on April 12, 1957, in Chicago. According to her website, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University and received her master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music.

She made her first on-screen appearance in the 1981 film “Purlie,” a television adaptation of the Broadway musical. Eight years later, she starred alongside Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis Jr., and Savion Glover in the movie “Tap,” which earned her an N.A.A.C.P. Image Award. In 2000, she became the first Black woman to play the lead role of Vivian Bearing, a poetry professor battling ovarian cancer, in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Wit.”

The veteran actress continued to captivate audiences in recent years playing Grace Cuffe, the mother of Kevin Richardson, in the award-winning mini-series, “When They See Us,” directed by Ava DuVernay. The film chronicled the story of the Central Park Five, the teenage boys wrongfully convicted of rape in 1989. DuVernay tweeted her condolences, calling her a “gem of a lady.”
“I believe that artists are, and can be, the consciousness of the nation,” Douglas said in a 2015 interview. “We have a social obligation to tell a story that creates dialogue that allows us to grow and change.” She said she chose roles with social consciousness, adding, “They have to really speak to my heart and bring awareness.”

Douglas was a multifaceted artist, composing music and singing with jazz musicians like Thelonious Monk Jr., the trumpeter Jon Faddis, and the saxophonist Stanley Turrentine.

Her talent agency listed Douglas is an "Honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. and the honors society of Sigma Alpha Lambda, a national leadership and honors organization."

Her co-stars, colleagues, and fans all expressed their shock and sadness at her passing. 

She is survived by her husband of 32 years, Jonathan Cobb, and her daughter Jordan Victoria Cobb.

Her majestic presence will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with all that knew her.

Photo Credit: Suzanne Douglas Website