NEW YORK – Actor Carol Sutton, a fixture on stages in her native New Orleans who built a steady career on the big and small screens, including roles in the 1989 comedy “Steel Magnolias” and the TV series “Queen Sugar,” has died from complications from COVID-19, according to New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell. Sutton was 76.
“The world may recognize her from her performances in movies and on TV — whether it’s ‘Treme’ or ‘Claws,’ or ‘Runaway Jury’ or ‘Queen Sugar’ — but we will always remember her commanding stage presence, her richly portrayed characters, and the warm heart she shared with her fellow cast and crew,” Cantrell said in a statement. Sutton died Thursday at Touro Infirmary.
After making her acting debut in the late 1960s in Dashiki Project Theatre productions, Sutton appeared in productions such as “The Last Madam,” “Native Tongues” and “A Raisin in the Sun.”
She moved to television in 1974 with “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” with Cicely Tyson and had roles in “In the Heat of the Night” and the TV movie “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” with Avery Brooks. Her recent TV credits included “Scream Queens,” the 2016 remake of the series “Roots,” “Treme,” “True Detective” and “Lovecraft Country.”
Her film work includes roles in such movies as “Monster’s Ball,” “Ray” and “The Help.” She played a policewoman in “The Pelican Brief” with Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington and a nurse opposite Sally Field, Dolly Parton and Shirley MacLaine in “Steel Magnolias.” She was a judge in “The Big Easy” with Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin.
Ava DuVernay, creator of the OWN series “Queen Sugar,” tweeted: “It was our honor to welcome this veteran actress of stage and screen to our show as Aunt Martha in Episode 409, ‘Stare at the Same Fires.’ May she rise and rest in peace and power.”
Survivors include a son, Archie; a daughter, Aunya; a brother, Oris Buckner; a sister, Adrienne Jopes; and five grandchildren.