Steel Magnolias and Ray Actress Carol Sutton Is Dead at 76

Carol Sutton in 2019. Photo: WireImage

Veteran stage, television, and film actress Carol Sutton died from coronavirus complications on Friday, December 11 at the age of 76, according to a statement released by New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell. Sutton, who recently made guest appearances in Lovecraft Country and Queen Sugar, spent her final months in the hospital being treated for the coronavirus. In her statement, Mayor Cantrell called Sutton the “queen of New Orleans theater, having graced the stages across the city for decades.” Cantrell continues, “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.”

Sutton was born in New Orleans in 1933, and began her acting career in the late 1960s with the city’s Dashiki Project Theatre, which aimed to present “an accurate portrayal of the black experience for the Black community.” While Sutton continued to work in New Orleans theater, she also acted in films including Steel Magnolias, The Pelican Brief, and Ray. Upon the news of Sutton’s passing, Queen Sugar creator Ava DuVernay tweeted in remembrance. “It was our honor to welcome this veteran actress of stage + screen to our show as Aunt Martha,” she wrote. “We bless her. May she rise and rest in peace and power.”

Steel Magnolias Actress Carol Sutton Is Dead at 76