Actor, mother, and philanthropist Carol Sutton died Thursday in her hometown of New Orleans due to COVID-19 complications.
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Eve’s Bayou, and Steel Magnolias star had an extensive career spanning nine decades that began in the southern city.
Sutton initially began performing in the theater. She appeared in the plays The Last Madam, Native Tongues, and A Raisin in the Sun before pivoting to television in 1974. She loved New Orleans so much that she refused to relocate for her career. She explained her choice to her friend and colleague Tommye Myrick in a 2019 interview. “When everyone else left, I never had a desire to leave New Orleans. I never wanted to go to L.A. or New York,” she reportedly said.“In those places, there were hundreds of people trying to do the same things I wanted to do. If I wanted to get on stage or get in a movie, I was able to do that right here.”
She booked major roles in productions including, Queen Sugar, The Big Easy, The Pelican Brief, Monster’s Ball, Ray, Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins, The Help, Tremé, True Detective, and Lovecraft Country while continuing to live on the street where she grew up.
Sutton balanced her thriving acting career with her 40 years of service to Total Community Action, an organization that aids families in distress and children with special needs. She was awarded a New Orleans Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
Former New Orleans Times critic David Cuthbert how noted Sutton’s incredible talent stood out in the city. “Among actors in New Orleans, there was Carol Sutton – and there was everybody else,” he said according to Variety. “She opened her mouth, and out came truth. Wherever she was on stage, that was center stage.”
Sutton is survived by her son, Archie Sutton Jr., daughter, Aunya Sutton, brother, Oris Buckner, a sister Adrienne Jopes and several grandchildren.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sutton, Buckner and Jopes families.