Jo Marie Payton

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Jo Marie Payton
Born Jo Marie Payton
(1950-08-03) August 3, 1950 (age 66)
Albany, Georgia, U.S.
Nationality American
Other names

Jo Marie Payton–France
Jo Marie Payton–Noble
Jo Marie Payton–Clark
Jo Marie Payton France Noble–Clark
Jo Marie Payton–Downs
Education North Dade Jr./ Sr. High School
Albany State University
Occupation Actress, singer, musician
Years active 1978–present
Known for Harriette Winslow on Family Matters
Suga Mama Proud on The Proud Family
Spouse(s) Leonard Downs (m. 2007)
Landrus Clark (m. 1998–2004)
Rodney Noble (m. 1993–98)
Marc France (m. 1980–87) (1 daughter)

Jo Marie Payton (born August 3, 1950)[1] is an American television actress and singer who starred as Harriette Winslow, the matriarch of the Winslow family on the ABC/CBS sitcom Family Matters, and also appeared in a recurring role on its parent series Perfect Strangers. From 2001 to 2005, Payton provided the voice for Suga Mama Proud on Bruce W. Smith's Disney Channel's The Proud Family.[1] The role earned her an NAACP Image Award nomination in 2005.[2] 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).


Jo Marie Payton was born on August 3, 1950, in Albany, Georgia. In later years, her family moved to Opa-locka, Florida and she completed high school at North Dade Jr./ Sr. High School in Bunche Park, Florida and Miami Carol City Senior High School in Dade County, Florida. She graduated from Albany State University in Albany, Georgia[3] and continued to donate, host charitable events, and support her alma mater while also continuing her education and making a successful career.

From 1989 to 1997, Payton won over television audiences as Harriette Winslow, a wife and mother, on the situation comedy Family Matters. Her character actually originated on the sitcom Perfect Strangers in a recurring role as an elevator operator from 1987 to 1989. Audiences liked the Harriette Winslow character so much that the character was spun off into her own show.


Jo Marie's big break came when she was cast as the elevator operator on the ABC sitcom Perfect Strangers in 1987. 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 an African-American middle-class family living in Chicago. Payton left Family Matters partway through its final season, appearing for the last time on December 19, 1997. Her character was played by Judyann Elder in the show's remaining eight episodes.

In 2002, she appeared on the "TV Moms" episode of the Anne Robinson version of The Weakest Link,[4] 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[5], Reba, Girlfriends, Wanda at Large,[6] 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 mini series The Rev as Mama.

In 2005, Payton co-hosted the 15th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards with Glynn Turman.[7]

In August 2009, she appeared on Meet the Browns as Shirley Van Owen.

She recently hosted her own show on the Hometeam Network, Second Chance with Jomarie Payton.

In 2012 she was in the GMC TV movie special From This Day Forward.

Personal life and career[edit]

Payton is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

In 1999, she released a jazz album, Southern Shadows.

She has been married and divorced three times, and has a daughter with first husband Marc France.

In 2004, in an effort to help raise funds for Virginia Union University, she 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.[8]



  1. ^ a b "Jo Marie Payton Biography". A&E Television Networks. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  2. ^ "36th NAACP Image Award Winners" (PDF). NAACP. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  4. ^ "Weakest Link episodes". Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  5. ^ "Desperate Housewives Remember...". Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  6. ^ "Best Bets: What's on TV Tonight". Cincinnati Enquirer. October 24, 2003. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  7. ^ "The City of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills Hollywood NAACP 15th Annual Theatre Awards Nominations". Business Wire. January 26, 2005. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  8. ^ Booker, Simeon (July 19, 2004). "(Ticker Tape; calls for donations to Virginia Union University)". Jet. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 

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