September 24, 1922|
Emporia, Virginia, U.S.
|Died||June 12, 1998
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Benjamin Hines (1945–1998) (her death) 4 children|
Born in Emporia, Virginia, Merritt appeared in many theatrical productions but gained fame later in life when she starred in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, for which she earned a Tony Award nomination, and The Wiz, in which she replaced Mabel King as Evelline. She left The Wiz, citing the role's harmful effect on her voice. She then starred in the television sitcom That's My Mama.
Her most notable film roles were Aunt Em in the 1978 film version of The Wiz, Mrs. Crosby in the 1977 film adaptation of Neil Simon's The Goodbye Girl, and Juanita in the Adam Sandler comedy Billy Madison. She also appeared alongside Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton in the film adaptation of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
Personal life and death
Merritt was married to Benjamin Hines and they had four children. During Delta Sigma Theta 34th National convention Merritt and E. Fannie Granton of Jet magazine were made honorary members of the sorority. Merritt died of skin cancer on June 12, 1998, in The Bronx.
|1971||They Might Be Giants||Peggy|
|1977||Proof of the Man||Peggy|
|The Goodbye Girl||Mrs. Crosby|
|1978||The Wiz||Aunt Em|
|1979||The Great Santini||Arrabella Smalls||Alternative titles: The Ace
The Gift of Fury
|All That Jazz||Cast of NY/LA|
|1982||The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas||Jewel|
|The Serpent and the Rainbow||Simone|
|1989||Zwei Frauen||Nurse Wilson||Alternative title: Silence Like Glass|
|1991||Voodoo Dawn||Madame Daslay||Alternative title: Strange Turf|
|Home Fries||Mrs. Vaughan|
|1969||J.T.||Mama Meley||Television movie|
|1973||The Furst Family of Washington||Eloise "Mama" Furst||Television movie|
|1974–1975||That's My Mama||Eloise "Mama" Curtis||39 episodes|
|1975||Police Story||Mrs. Johnson||1 episode|
|1980||NBC Special Treat||1 episode|
|1983||The Love Boat||Faye Pillips||1 episode|
|1984||Concealed Enemies||Clytie Catlett||Television movie|
|1988||Miracle at Beekman's Place||Sarag Coleman||Television movie|
|1997||Law & Order||Ruth Titus||1 episode|
|1998||NYPD Blue||Bernice||1 episode|
|Cosby||Edna Stone||1 episode|
- Lyman, Rick (1998-06-21). "Theresa Merritt, 75, Praised In Role of Ma Rainey, Is Dead". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
- Theresa Merritt at the Internet Movie Database
- Theresa Merritt at the Internet Broadway Database
- Theresa Merritt at Find a Grave
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