Emmy-Winning 'Roots' Actress Olivia Cole Dead At 75

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Sydney Scott Jan, 25, 2018

Actress Olivia Cole is dead at 75.

Deadline confirmed that the Emmy-winning Roots actress passed away Jan. 19 at her home in San Miguel Allende, Mexico after reportedly suffering a heart attack. 

Known for her roles in Backstairs at the White House and Roots, Cole was a star of stage and screen. She made her Broadway debut in The School for Scandal and appeared in Romeo and Juliet at the American Shakespeare Theatre.

In 1977, the actress won an Emmy for Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Drama Series for her role in Roots as Mathilda, the wife of Ben Vereen’s Chicken George. She received another nomination in 1979 for Backstairs at the White House. 

Cole also starred opposite Oprah Winfrey in the 1989 miniseries The Women of Brewster Place. Other credits include SzysznykSome Kind of HeroGo Tell It on the Mountain, and Murder, She Wrote.  

The actress had been living in Mexico for 30 years and was married to actor Richard Venture before their divorce in 1982.