‘The Parent ‘Hood’ and ‘When They See Us’ Actress Suzzanne Douglas Dies at 64

Suzzanne Douglas arrives at the Premiere Of Lifetime's
Valerie Macon/Getty Images

TV and film actress Suzzanne Douglas has died at the age of 64.

News of her passing was first announced on Tuesday in a Facebook post by Douglas’ cousin Angie Tee, who wrote, “A beautiful and talented actress made her transition today. She warmed our hearts on movie screens and television sets all over the world… The world will miss your talent but your soul will live on forever.”

Best known for her role as matriarch Jerri Peterson on 1990s sitcom The Parent ‘Hood, Douglas had numerous TV and film roles throughout her four-decade career. One of her first roles came in 1981 in the television film Purlie, based on the musical of the same name. But she got her big break in 1989 when she was cast opposite Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr. in the movie Tap, where she received an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture.

She would go on to appear in several TV series in the early 1990s, including The Cosby Show, Against the Law, I’ll Fly Away, and American Playhouse. Douglas landed her starring role as Jerri in The WB’s The Parent ‘Hood in 1995 and featured in all 90 episodes until the show ended in 1999. She later made appearances in shows such as Touched by an Angel, Promised Land, and The Parkers.

Douglas also continued her film work throughout the 90s, portraying Brenda in 1994’s The Inkwell, Gloria in 1994’s Jason’s Lyric, and Angela in 1998’s How Stella Got Her Groove Back. And more recently, she starred in the 2015 Whitney Houston biopic Whitney as the singer’s Grammy winner mother, Cissy Houston.

Her most recent role was as Grace Cuffe in Ava DuVernay‘s acclaimed Netflix miniseries When They See Us. “Suzzanne Douglas was a quiet, elegant force as we made When They See Us,” DuVernary wrote on Twitter following the news of Douglas’ passing. “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.”

Jada Pinkett Smith, who starred alongside Douglas in The Inkwell, also paid tribute. “I woke up this morning to the news that Suzzanne Douglas has passed away,” she said. “She was an elegant, gentle warm spirit. My deepest condolences to her family and loved ones. May she rest in love.”