Carol Sutton, dubbed the “Queen of New Orleans theater,” died Thursday from COVID-19 complications, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said, issuing a statement Friday paying tribute to the city’s entertainment legend.
She was 76.
“Carol Sutton was practically the Queen of New Orleans theater, having graced the stages across the city for decades,” Cantrell wrote.
“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 in productions such as ‘4000 Miles’ and ‘A Raisin in the Sun.’ May she rest in God’s perfect peace,” Cantrell continued. Sutton’s television and film career spanned nearly five decades featuringwith credits from the miniseries “Roots” and “Monster’s Ball.” The actress also played Nurse Pam in the 1989 “Steel Magnolias” and Martha Lavoisier in a 2019 episode of Ava DuVernay’s “Queen Sugar,” according to imdB.
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.” DuVernay took to Twitter Friday to honor Sutton. The filmmaker shared a clip from the “Queen Sugar” scene Sutton appeared in with Rutina Wesley (Nova Bordelon).
“On behalf of the QUEEN SUGAR family, we celebrate the life of the stellar Carol Sutton. It was our honor to welcome this veteran actress of stage + screen to our show as Aunt Martha in Episode 409, ‘Stare at the Same Fires,'” DuVernay wrote. “We bless her. May she rise and rest in peace and power.”