Susan Douglas, who played matriarch and law student Jerry Peterson in the sitcom “The Parent Hood” and appeared in several Broadway productions, died Tuesday at her home in Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. She was 64 years old.
Ms Douglas’ death was confirmed by her husband, Jonathan Cobb, who said he had died of complications from cancer. He declined to say what type of cancer Ms Douglas had, but said she had been ill for more than two years.
From the early days of her career, Ms. Douglas turned to a number of roles. Eight years after her first onscreen role, in the 1981 TV movie “Purley,” she co-starred with Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis Jr., and Savian Glover in “Tap,” which earned an NAACP Image Award. His career continued to climb in the 1990s with roles in “The Inkwell” and “Jason Lyrick”.
She became a household name in the mid-1990s after playing Jerry Peterson opposite Robert Townsend in the WB sitcom “The Parent Hood,” which explored the challenges of raising a family in New York City. The show ran for five seasons before ending in 1999.
Some of her other acting credits include “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” “The Parkers,” “School of Rock,” Angela Bassett’s Whitney Houston biopic “Whitney,” and “When They See Us,” the award-winning mini-series . Directed by Ava DuVernay about the teenage boys known as the Central Park Five. Ms DuVernay remembers Ms Douglas on Wednesday “As a confident, caring actor who breathed life into words and made them sparkle.”
On Broadway, Ms. Douglas starred in “” opposite Sting.threepenny opera” and “The Tap Dance Kid.” In 2000, Ms. Douglas became the first black woman to play Vivian Bering in “Wit,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about a poetry professor battling ovarian cancer. The New York Times Review For a production at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ, the portrayal of Ms. Douglass has been called “lively” and “fiery”.
“I believe that artists are, and can be, the consciousness of the nation,” said Ms. Douglas. in a 2015 interview. “We have a social obligation to tell a story that creates dialogue that allows us to grow and change.” Ms Douglas said she was choosing roles with social consciousness, adding, “They really have to speak to my heart and bring awareness.”
Ms. Douglas was born on 12 April 1957 in Chicago. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University and a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music, according to his website.
Ms. Douglas was also a recognized musician and singer, having performed with musicians including drummer and bandleader Thelonious Monk Jr., trumpeter John Fedys and saxophonist Stanley Turantine. according to a talent agency Representation of Ms. Douglas.
At the time of her death, Ms. Douglas was working on a jazz album, Mr. Cobb said.
In addition to Ms. Cobb, Ms. Douglas’ husband of 32 years, she is survived by her daughter, Jordan Victoria Cobb.
Ms Douglas said in a 2014 interview while earning her master’s degree that she was a “life learner”. Having gone through so much in her career, Ms. Douglas demonstrated that it was far more intimidating to perform as a singer than as an actress.
“You are more vulnerable,” He said. “It’s just you. There’s no character to hide behind. There’s no costume, no lights. It’s just you sharing the songs and telling stories within the songs so that they have universal appeal and those touch where they need to be touched.