Actress Suzzanne Douglas, known for US sitcom Parent ‘Hood and Netflix’s When They See Us, has died at the age of 64.
When They See Us director Ava DuVernay led the tributes, describing the actress as “a gem of lady” who made her script “shimmer”.
Jada Pinkett Smith said she was “an elegant, gentle warm spirit”.
Douglas’s other credits included the films The Inkwell and How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and she portrayed Cissy Houston in the biopic Whitney.
Her spokeswoman said: “The industry has lost a truly talented artist with the passing of Suzzanne Douglas.
“She touched everyone who knew her and was lovely in every sense of the word. The family appreciates your support and asks for their privacy during this difficult time.”
Friend and author Stephanie Perry Moore paid tribute on Facebook, writing: “I got to stand beside greatness. Suzanne Douglas Cobb, I love you dear lady.
“Thanks for always checking on me and for showing me elegance and grace walking. I’ve got a heavy heart, but I’m blessed to be a part of the legacy you touched. I am better because I knew you. Heaven is richer.”
Douglas’s cousin Angie Tee wrote: “A beautiful and talented actress made her transition today. She warmed our hearts on movie screens and television sets all over the world.”
Douglas started her career in the early 1980s with appearances in the soap Guiding Light before her feature debut as Amy Simms in 1989 film Tap, alongside Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr.
She won an NAACP Image Award for her performance in the dance drama. From there she went on to star in The Inkwell, Jason’s Lyric and How Stella Got Her Groove Back.
In 2015 biopic Whitney, she portrayed Cissy, the mother of singer Whitney Houston. Talking about her role, Douglas said: “I believe that artists are, and can be, the consciousness of the nation.
“We have a social obligation to tell a story that creates dialogue that allows us to grow and change.”
She played Jerri Peterson in The Parent ‘Hood, which ran from 1995 to 1999 and followed the ups and downs of a middle-class black family in Harlem, New York.
Douglas also had guest roles on shows including The Good Wife, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, NYPD Blue and Touched by an Angel.
Most recently she played Grace Cuffee in When They See Us, based on the true story of five teens from Harlem who were falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park.