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Theresa Merritt

Theresa Merritt

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Also Known As: Died: June 12, 1998
Born: September 24, 1922 Cause of Death: skin cancer
Birth Place: Emporia, Virginia, USA Profession: singer, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Theresa Merritt was an actress who was no stranger to being featured in numerous film roles throughout her Hollywood career. She portrayed the legendary blues singer Ma Rainey in August Wilson's award-winning "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." In 1973, she portrayed Mammy in the stage musical "Gone With the Wind." In 1972, she was in the cast of Melvin Van Peebles' "Don't Play Us Cheap." Merritt's acting career began mostly with her roles in various films, such as the comedy adaptation "They Might Be Giants" (1971) with George C Scott, the Richard Dreyfuss comedy "The Goodbye Girl" (1977) and the musical "The Wiz" (1978) with Diana Ross. She also appeared in the adaptation "All That Jazz" (1979) with Roy Scheider and the drama "The Great Santini" (1979) with Robert Duvall. She had an early role on the television special "J.T." (CBS, 1969-1970). She worked in television in her early acting career as well, including a part on "That's My Mama" (ABC, 1974-76). Her work around this time also included a part on the TV movie "Miracle at Beekman's Place" (NBC, 1988-89). She also contributed to a variety of television specials, including "Concealed Enemies" (PBS, 1983-84) and "My Man Bovanne" (PBS,...

Theresa Merritt was an actress who was no stranger to being featured in numerous film roles throughout her Hollywood career. She portrayed the legendary blues singer Ma Rainey in August Wilson's award-winning "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." In 1973, she portrayed Mammy in the stage musical "Gone With the Wind." In 1972, she was in the cast of Melvin Van Peebles' "Don't Play Us Cheap." Merritt's acting career began mostly with her roles in various films, such as the comedy adaptation "They Might Be Giants" (1971) with George C Scott, the Richard Dreyfuss comedy "The Goodbye Girl" (1977) and the musical "The Wiz" (1978) with Diana Ross. She also appeared in the adaptation "All That Jazz" (1979) with Roy Scheider and the drama "The Great Santini" (1979) with Robert Duvall. She had an early role on the television special "J.T." (CBS, 1969-1970). She worked in television in her early acting career as well, including a part on "That's My Mama" (ABC, 1974-76). Her work around this time also included a part on the TV movie "Miracle at Beekman's Place" (NBC, 1988-89). She also contributed to a variety of television specials, including "Concealed Enemies" (PBS, 1983-84) and "My Man Bovanne" (PBS, 1986-87). She also worked in television around this time, including a part on "13 East" (NBC, 1988-1990). She also had roles in film during these years, including roles in "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" (1982) and "Astonished" (1988). Merritt took on film roles in more recent years, appearing in the Bill Pullman thriller "The Serpent and the Rainbow" (1988), the Jami Gertz drama "Silence Like Glass" (1990) and the Adam Sandler comedy "Billy Madison" (1995). Additionally, she appeared on the television special "Driving Miss Daisy" (CBS, 1991-92). She also worked in television during these years, including roles in "NYPD Blue" (1993-2005) and "Cosby" (CBS, 1996-2000). Merritt last acted in the Drew Barrymore comedy "Home Fries" (1998). Merritt's husband was Benjamin Hines and Merritt had four children. Merritt passed away in June 1998 at the age of 76.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Home Fries (1998)
2.
 Billy Madison (1995) Juanita
3.
 Silence Like Glass (1989) Sister Wilson
4.
 Miracle at Beekman's Place (1988) Sarah Coleman
5.
6.
 Astonished (1988)
8.
 All That Jazz (1979) Cast Member
9.
 Great Santini (1979) Arrabelle Smalls
10.
 The Wiz (1978) Aunt Em
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1944:
Stage debut in "Carmen Jones" (date approximate)
:
Worked as a singer with Harry Belafonte and Jackie Wilson
1971:
Had a featured role in "They Might Be Giants"
1972:
Was in the cast of Melvin Van Peebles' "Don't Play Us Cheap"
1973:
Portrayed Mammy in the stage musical "Gone With the Wind"
1974:
Starred as Mama in the ABC sitcom "That's My Mama"
1976:
Returned to Broadway to play the wicked witch Eveline in "The Wiz," an all-black musical version of "The Wizard of Oz"
1978:
Cast as Auntie Em in Sidney Lumet's screen version of "The Wiz"
1982:
Played Jewel in "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas"
:
Portrayed the legendary blues singer Ma Rainey in August Wilson's award-winning "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"
1995:
Last feature appearance in "Billy Madison"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Temple University: Philadelphia , Pennsylvania -
Settlement School of Music: Philadelphia , Pennsylvania -

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Benjamin Hines. Married c. 1946; survived her.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Norman Hines.
son:
Benjamin Hines Jr.
daughter:
Denise Hines.
son:
Dennis Hines.
niece:
M Vicki Wacksman. Survived her.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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