Suzzanne Douglas, a graceful actress who starred alongside Gregory Hines in Tap and had standout roles in films and television shows such as The Inkwell, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, When They See Us and the Robert Townsend led sitcom The Parent ‘Hood, has died according to reports. She was 64.
A reported cousin of the actress shared the news on Facebook, writing she passed on July 6. Her post read:
“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.
“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”
Born in Chicago, Douglas would develop an interest in the arts and earn her Bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University. Later, she would earn a Master’s from the Manhattan School of Music.
Douglas’ filmography would grow after her breakout role in Tap. She famously played Gloria in 1994’s Jason’s Lyric, Brenda in The Inkwell, Angela in How Stella Got Her Groove Back and endeared herself to Black households as Jerri Peterson on The Parent ‘Hood. Recently, she starred as Cissy Houston in Lifetime’s biopic of the late Whitney Houston and in the four-part Netflix mini-series When They See Us.
Tributes and condolences began pouring in overnight for Douglas. Director Ava Duvernay, who worked with Douglas on When They See Us, called her an “elegant force.”
“Suzzanne Douglas was a quiet, elegant force as we made WHEN THEY SEE US,” Duvernay tweeted on Wednesday (July 7). “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.”
Actress Reagan Gomez-Preston, who starred as Zaria on The Parent ‘Hood, shared photos of the two together from a series of posts she made earlier this year.
No official cause of death has been given. Our thoughts and prayers are with Douglas’ family and fans during this difficult time.