Jo Marie Payton

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Jo Marie Payton
Born (1950-08-03) August 3, 1950 (age 70)[1][2]
Other names
  • Jo Marie Payton–Trolley
EducationMiami Carol City Senior High School[3]
Alma materAlbany State University
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active1978–present
Known forHarriette Winslow – Perfect Strangers and Family Matters
Suga Mama Proud – The Proud Family
Marc France
(m. 1980; div. 1987)

Rodney Noble
(m. 1993; div. 1998)
Landrus Clark
(m. 1998; div. 2004)

Leonard Downs
(m. 2007)

Jo Marie Payton (born August 3, 1950)[4] is an American actress and singer who starred as Harriette Baines–Winslow, the matriarch of the Winslow family on the ABC/CBS sitcom Family Matters (1989–1998), and also appeared in a recurring role on its forerunner series Perfect Strangers. From 2001 to 2005, Payton provided the voice for Suga Mama Proud (Penny Proud's grandmother) on Disney Channel's animated series The Proud Family and Disney+’s upcoming revival The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.[4] The role earned her an NAACP Image Award nomination in 2005.[5] Payton also had a recurring role as the personal assistant to Gregory Hines' character, Ben Doucette (Will Truman's boss), during season two of Will & Grace (1999–2000).


Early life and education[edit]

Jo Marie Payton was born on August 3, 1950, in Albany, Georgia.[2] Sometime during her early teens, her family relocated to Opa-locka, Florida. Payton attended high school at North Dade Jr./ Sr. High School and later graduated from Miami Carol City Senior High School in 1968.[3] Payton graduated from Albany State University.[6]


Payton's big break came when she was cast as Harriet Winslow, the elevator operator on the ABC sitcom Perfect Strangers, in 1987.[1] Her performance was so well received by audiences that she was given her own sitcom, Family Matters, in 1989. Continuing her character Harriette Winslow from Perfect Strangers, she played a mother in a middle-class black family living in Chicago, Illinois. Payton left Family Matters partway through its final season, appearing for the last time on December 19, 1997. Payton's character was played by Judyann Elder in the show's remaining eight episodes.

In 2002, Payton appeared on the "TV Moms" episode of the Anne Robinson version of The Weakest Link,[7] and was the third one voted off. In 2003, Payton and her daughter appeared on a Mother's Day episode of Lingo, playing against fellow TV mom Meredith Baxter and her daughter. Baxter and her daughter won. In 2005, Jo Marie Payton provided the voice of Suga Mama in The Proud Family Movie. Her other television credits include Desperate Housewives[8], Reba, Girlfriends, Wanda at Large,[9] Judging Amy, The Parkers, Will & Grace, The Hughleys, 7th Heaven, Moesha, The Jamie Foxx Show, 227, Silver Spoons, Small Wonder and The New Odd Couple. She also appeared in the Canadian TV miniseries The Rev as Mama.

In 2005, Payton co-hosted the 15th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards with Glynn Turman.[10] In August 2009, Payton appeared on Meet the Browns as Shirley Van Owen. Payton hosted her own show on the Hometeam Network, Second Chance with Jomarie Payton. In 2012, Payton was in the GMC TV movie special From This Day Forward.

Other career[edit]

In 2004, in an effort to help raise funds for Virginia Union University, Payton wrote letters to alumni urging them to donate money in amounts from $18.65 to $186,500, in honor of the University's founding date of 1865.[11] Payton also continued to donate, host charitable events, and support her alma mater of Albany State University while also continuing her education and making a successful career.

Personal life[edit]

Payton is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.[2] In 1999, she released a jazz album, Southern Shadows. Payton has been married and divorced three times. Her first marriage was to Marc France from 1980 to 1987 with whom she has a daughter, Chantale France, born 1984.[2] From April 17, 1993[2] until 1998, Payton was married to Rodney Noble.[12] Shortly after divorcing Noble, Payton married Landrus Clark in 1998; later divorcing in 2004. Payton has been married to Leonard Downs since 2007.



Year Title Role Notes
1980 The Hollywood Knights Black Lady
1983 Deal of the Century Baptist #1 credited as Jo Marie Payton-Noble
1986 Crossroads Jookhouse Woman #2 credited as Jo Marie Payton-France
1987 Disorderlies Kool's Mother credited as Jo Marie Payton-France
1988 Colors 2nd Woman in Recreation Center credited as JoMarie Payton-France
1989 Troop Beverly Hills Saleswoman credited as JoMarie Payton-France
1989 ABC TGIF Harriette credited as Jo Marie Payton-Noble
2001 Enchos of Enlightenment Paul's Wife credited as JoeMarie Payton
2002 In the Eyes of Kyana Olivia Direct-To-Video

credited as Jo Marie Payton-Noble

2004 Gas Loretta credited as JoMarie Payton
2011 The Beach Chronicles AGX P2 unknown role Short film

credited as JoMarie Payton

2012 The Beach Chronicles AGX Mothunevis Omaph Short film

credited as JoMarie Payton

2016 Jericho Maebell
2016 54:17 Violet credited as JoMarie Payton
2017 A Warrior's Path: Alpha Essie Short film
2018 The Little Mermaid Lorene
2019 The Beach Bum Judge credited as JoMarie Payton


Year Title Role Notes
1978 The Plant Family Geneva (Lyla's friend) TV Movie

credited as Jo Marie Payton-France

1982–83 The New Odd Couple Mona recurring role (4 episodes)
1983 Teachers Only Yolanda "It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To"

credited as Jo Marie Payton-France

1986–87 Silver Spoons Marie / Oprah Winfrey / Housekeeper recurring role (6 episodes)

credited as Jo Marie Payton-France

1986–89 Small Wonder Sergeant Pepper / Meter Maid recurring role (2 episodes)
1987 227 Mrs. Herman "The Handwriting on the Wall"

credited as Jo Marie Payton-France

1987 The Slap Maxwell Story Bavaria "#1.1"
1987–89 Perfect Strangers Harriette Winslow series regular (33 episodes)
1988 Frank's Place Mrs. Ross "The Recruiting Game"

credited as Jo-Marie Payton France

1989–1997 Family Matters Harriette Winslow series regular (200 episodes)
1991 The $10,000 Pyramid Herself (Celebrity Contestant) recurring role (5 episodes)
1996–99 Moesha Mrs. Campbell / Valerie Shaw recurring role (4 episodes)
1998 The Jamie Foxx Show Janice King "Just Don't Do It"

credited as JoMarie Payton

1999–2000 Will & Grace Mrs. Freeman recurring role (5 episodes)
2000 7th Heaven Sharon Peacock " Liar, Liar"
2000 City of Angels Helen "Saving Faces"

credited as Jo Marie Payton-Noble

2001–05 The Proud Family Suga Mama (voice role) series regular (52 episodes)
2002 The Hughleys Satin Fontaine "Bored of the Rings"
2002 The Parkers Ms. Campbell "It's Showtime"
2002 The Proud Family Shorties Suga Mama Proud Miniseries

credited as JoMarie Payton

2003 Judging Amy Mrs. Kahn "Ex Parte of Five"
2003 Wanda at Large Wanda's Mother "Hurricane Hawkins"
2004 The Big House Mrs. Jenkins "Almost Touched by an Angel"
2004 Girlfriends Annette Miles recurring role (2 episodes)
2005 Lilo & Stitch: The Series Suga Mama (voice role) "Spats: Experiment #397"
2005 The Proud Family Movie Suga Mama (voice role) TV Movie
2005 Reba Grandma Ruby "No Good Deed"

credited as Jo Marie Payton-Noble

2005 The Rev Mama TV Movie

credited as Jo Marie Payton-Noble

2006 Desperate Housewives Charlene "Thank You So Much"
2009 Meet the Browns Shirley "Meet the Gold Digger"

credited as JoMarie Payton

2010 The Glades Remelle "Mucked Up"

credited as JoMarie Payton

2012 From This Day Forward Elena TV Movie

credited as JoMarie Payton

2013 The Rev Isabelle Starr recurring role (4 episodes)
2015 Dangerous Lessons Linda TV Movie
2015 The Flight Before Christmas Marie TV Movie
2015 Chopped Herself (Celebrity Contestant) "Sitcom Moms"
2015–16 Mann and Wife Lorraine Mann series regular (20 episodes)
2018 Christmas Made to Order Rachel TV Movie
2019 Blaze and the Monster Machines Grandma Ninja "Ninja Soup"
TBA The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder Suga Mama (voice role) Upcoming series[13]


  1. ^ a b Fearn-Banks, Kathleen (November 15, 2005). Historical Dictionary of African-American Television. Google Books. ISBN 9780810865228. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f NNDB - Jo Marie Payton
  3. ^ a b Payton, JoMarie. "Information". Facebook. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Jo Marie Payton Biography". Archived from the original on January 10, 2013. Retrieved April 8, 2009.
  5. ^ "36th NAACP Image Award Winners" (PDF). NAACP. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 8, 2009. Retrieved April 8, 2009.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Weakest Link episodes". Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  8. ^ "Desperate Housewives Remember..." Retrieved April 8, 2009.
  9. ^ "Best Bets: What's on TV Tonight". Cincinnati Enquirer. October 24, 2003. Retrieved April 18, 2009.
  10. ^ "The City of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills Hollywood NAACP 15th Annual Theatre Awards Nominations". Business Wire. January 26, 2005. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
  11. ^ Booker, Simeon (July 19, 2004). "(Ticker Tape; calls for donations to Virginia Union University)". Jet. Retrieved April 8, 2009.
  12. ^ JET Magazine (May 24, 1993) (May 24, 1993), "(Mr. & Mrs.) 'Family Matters' Star JoMarie Payton Weds Longtime Beau In Calif.", Google Books, retrieved June 6, 2018
  13. ^ Swift, Andy (February 27, 2020). "The Proud Family Revival Ordered at Disney+ With Original Cast — First Look". TVLine.

External links[edit]