Suzzanne Douglas (April 12, 1957 – July 6, 2021) was an American actress.[2] She is best known for her role as matriarch Jerri Peterson on The WB sitcom The Parent ‘Hood,[2] starring Robert Townsend which ran from 1995–1999. Douglas portrayed Amy Simms in the 1989 dance/drama film Tap alongside Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis, Jr, for which she received an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture. In addition to Tap, Douglas has starred in several other motion pictures, among them How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998), Jason’s Lyric (1994), The Inkwell (1994) as well as the 2003 Disney/ABC version of Sounder with Carl Lumbly. Douglas is also best known for her portrayal as Cissy Houston in the Lifetime TV movie Whitney in 2015. In 2019, she appeared as the mother of one of the main characters in When They See Us (Netflix), directed by Ava DuVernay.

Early life and education[edit]

Douglas was born in Chicago on April 12, 1957.[3] She was one of four children born to Lois Mae Thompson and Donald Douglas, Sr. Raised by a single mother, Douglas grew up in a public housing complex on the city’s south side. Douglas became interested in the arts as a child, citing 1965’s The Sound of Music as her inspiration for acting.[4] Douglas attended Thornton Township High School, graduating in 1975.[5] After high school, Douglas studied at Illinois State University; graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree. During her adult life, Douglas was a student in the Master’s Program in Jazz Vocals at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music; later earning a Master in Music degree.[6]


Douglas has numerous television guest star appearances (most recently BullBones and The Good Wife).[7] Douglas has also appeared on The Parkers,[7] The Cosby ShowLaw and Order: Criminal IntentNYPD Blue,[8] and Touched by an Angel.[7] On stage, Douglas performed the role of Jenny Diver in The Threepenny Opera starring Sting and Dr. Bearing in Wit, where she was the first African American to perform the role.[3][9] Douglas was a two time Image Award winner, a Black Oscar, a Reel Award,[10] and the Mary Martin Award.[11] Douglas appears in the Rel Dowdell film, Changing the Game in 2011.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Douglas married to neuro-radiologist Roy Jonathan Cobb in February 1989. Together, they had one daughter.[3][12] Douglas was an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority where she served on its board as the Honorary Co-Chair of the Commission on Arts and Letters for thirteen years. In the community, she was a lifetime member of Girl Scouts of the USAThe National Council of Negro WomenSigma Alpha Lambda (a national leadership and honors organization) and Jack and Jill of America.[13]

Douglas died on July 6, 2021, at her home on Martha’s Vineyard. She was 64, and suffered from an unspecified cancer in the two years leading up to her death.[3][14]



Year Title Role Notes
1981 Purlie[3] Television film
1989 Tap[7][15] Amy Simms
1990 The Knife and Gun Club[16] Ginny Ducette Television film
1992 Chain of Desire[7][17] Angie
1992 Condition: Critical[8] Dr. Bailey Wallace Television film
1994 I’ll Do Anything[8] Rainbow House Star
1994 The Inkwell[7][15] Brenda Tate
1994 Search for Grace[17][8] Margaret / Melody Television film
1994 Jason’s Lyric[7][17] Gloria
1998 The Last Weekend[10][18] Short film
1998 How Stella Got Her Groove Back[7][15] Angela
2003 Sounder[7][16] The Mother Television film
2003 School of Rock[17][8] Tomika’s Mother
2004 Sunday on the Rocks[7][17] Jessica
2012 Changing the Game[7][8] Mrs. Davis
2015 Whitney[7][8] Cissy Houston Television film
2016 Happy Yummy Chicken[7][8] Sarah Del Casserole
2020 Really Love[19] Ann Solomon


Year Title Role Notes
1989 A Man Called Hawk[18] Lorna Wells Episode: “Vendetta”
1990 The Cosby Show[8] Rebecca Shorter Episode: “Live and Learn”
1990–1991 Against the Law[18] Yvette Carruthers 17 episodes
1991 Great Performances Lady In Plaid / The Girl Episode: “The Colored Museum”[16]
1991 ABC Afterschool Specials Sammy Episode: “In the Shadows of Love: A Teen AIDS Story”[17]
1992 I’ll Fly Away[8] Ruth 3 episodes
1993 American Playhouse Eunice Perry Episode: “Hallelujah”[16]
1995–1999 The Parent ‘Hood[7][17] Jerri Peterson 90 episodes
1996-1999 Touched by an Angel[7][17] Dr. Rebecca Dixon / Brianna 2 episodes
1996 NYPD Blue[7][8] Mrs. Torrence Episode: “Where’s ‘Swaldo”
1997–1998 Promised Land[7][8] Dr. Rebecca Dixon 4 episodes
1999–2000 The Parkers[7] Constance McFarland 2 episodes
2004 Law & Order: Criminal Intent[8] Karen Watkins Episode: “Mad Hops”
2010 The Good Wife[7][8] Judge Keely Farmer Episode: “Infamy”
2016 Bones[7][8] Elizabeth Burkhart Episode: “The Monster in the Closet”
2016 Bull[7] Betty Everton Episode: “Just Tell the Truth”
2019 When They See Us[3] Grace Cuffe Miniseries


  1. ^ JET Magazine – People Are Talking About… – February 27, 1989
  2. Jump up to:a b “Suzzanne Douglas”. Movies & TV Dept. The New York TimesBaseline & All Movie Guide. 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-03-06.
  3. Jump up to:a b c d e f Taylor, Derrick Bryson (July 7, 2021). “Suzzanne Douglas, Star of ‘The Parent ‘Hood,’ Dies at 64”The New York Times. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  4. ^ Mendoza, M.F. (May 10, 1994). “No More ‘Dodging Bullets’ for Actress Suzzanne Douglas – FAST TRACK: Up and Comers in Arts and Entertainment; One in a Series”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  5. ^ “1974 Thornton Township High School Yearbook (Harvey, Illinois)” 1974. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  6. ^ Baltimore Times (Online) – An Interview with Suzzanne Douglas – January 13, 2017
  7. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v “Suzzanne Douglas”Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  8. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o “Suzzanne Douglas List of Movies and TV Shows”TV Guide. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  9. ^ Perez, Lexy (July 7, 2021). “Suzzanne Douglas, ‘The Parent ‘Hood’ Actress, Dies at 64”The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  10. Jump up to:a b “IJS Concert Series – Suzzanne Douglas”. Rutgers University. 2018. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  11. ^ “Suzzanne Douglas Scholarship”. Illinois State University. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  12. ^ Randolph, Laura B. (October 1995). “How He (She) Proposed”. Ebony Magazine. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Victorian, Brande (July 7, 2021). “Actress Suzzanne Douglas Dead At 64”Essence. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  15. Jump up to:a b c “Suzzanne Douglas”. American Film Institute. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  16. Jump up to:a b c d “Suzzanne Douglas – Filmography”. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  17. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h “Suzanne Douglas”. British Film Institute. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  18. Jump up to:a b c Evans, Greg (July 7, 2021). “Suzzanne Douglas Dies: ‘The Parent ‘Hood’, ‘When They See Us’ Actress Was 64”Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  19. ^ “Really Love”. American Film Institute. Retrieved July 7, 2021.

External links[edit]


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