Suzzanne Douglas, 'When They See Us' Actress, Dead At 64: Robert Townsend, Ava DuVernay and More Pay Homage
By Mekishana Pierre
Angela Weiss/Getty Images
Suzzanne Douglas, well-loved for her leading role as matriarch Jerri Peterson on Robert Townsend's WB sitcom The Parent ‘Hood and for her part in Netflix's When They See Us, has died. She was 64.
A rep for Douglas confirmed the news to ET, saying, "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."
"Suzzanne Douglas a beautiful and talented actress made her transition today. She warmed our hearts on movie screens and television sets all over the world. This beautiful soul was my cousin," read the message. "I can remember growing up, there weren’t very many black actresses who had starring roles but there was my cousin with the lead role in Tap starring alongside great dancers such as Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr. She also performed with Angela Bassett and Whoopi Goldberg in How Stella Got Her Groove Back. The Inkwell, Jason's Lyric and so much more the list goes on. The world will miss your talent but your soul will live on forever. Rest in Paradise my beautiful cousin Suzzane you will be missed RIP."
The actress earned a NAACP Image Award for her role in Tap. The rest of her credits include playing Cissy Houston, mother of Whitney Houston, in the 2015 biopic Whitney, School of Rock, the 1990 Fox series Against the Law, The Cosby Show, Touched By An Angel, The Parkers, and The Good Wife. Most recently, the actress played Grace Cuffee in Ava Duvernay's 2019 Netflix miniseries, When They See Us.
"Suzzanne Douglas was a quiet, elegant force as we made WHEN THEY SEE US," showrunner DuVernay wrote on Twitter. "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."
Suzzanne Douglas was a quiet, elegant force as we made WHEN THEY SEE US. 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. pic.twitter.com/1ZhaucGEiK
"I got to stand beside greatness," friend Stephanie Perry Moore, a writer and TV producer, wrote on Facebook. "Suzanne Douglas Cobb, I love you dear lady. Thanks for always checking on me and for showing me elegance and grace walking. I've got a heavy heart, but I'm blessed to be a part of the legacy you touched. I am better because I knew you. Heaven is richer."
Townsend, who played the eponymous self-titled character, Robert Peterson alongside Douglas on The Parent 'Hood, wrote on Twitter, "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…."
Douglas' Inkwell costar, Jada Pinkett Smith also paid tribute, 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."
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. pic.twitter.com/fBUf3coIVb
"Suzzanne was my brave, beautiful and brilliant sister," Angela Bassett wrote. "An incandescent light among us. I adored her essence, her energy, her intelligence, her grace, her faith and her fight. Suzzanne’s spirit was contagious. She saw the best in everyone, and God’s hand in every challenge. Even the most difficult. Rest, sweet angel ❤️."
Reagan Gomez, who starred alongside Douglas in The Parent ‘Hood, retweeted several Mother's Day posts she wrote in honor of her TV mom in May. "Thank you all so much for your prayers and words of kindness," she tweeted on Wednesday.