'Steel Magnolias' actress Carol Sutton dies aged 76

The New Orleans stage and screen actor died from Covid-19 complications

FILE - In this May 1, 2019, file photo, actress Carol Sutton arrives at the World Premiere of "Poms" in Los Angeles. Sutton, a fixture on stages in her native New Orleans who built a steady career on the big and small screens, including roles in the 1989 comedy “Steel Magnolias” and the TV series “Queen Sugar,” has died Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, from complications from COVID-19, according to New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell. Sutton was 76. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)
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American actress Carol Sutton, a fixture on stages in her native New Orleans who built a steady career on the big and small screens, has died from complications from Covid-19, according to New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

Sutton, who was known for roles in the 1989 comedy-drama Steel Magnolias and the TV series Queen Sugar, was 76.

"The world may recognise her from her performances in movies and on TV — whether it's Treme or Claws, or Runaway Jury or Queen Sugar — but we will always remember her commanding stage presence, her richly portrayed characters, and the warm heart she shared with her fellow cast and crew," Cantrell said in a statement. Sutton died on Thursday, December 10, at Touro Infirmary.

Ava DuVernay, creator of the Own series Queen Sugar, tweeted: "It was our honour to welcome this veteran actress of stage and screen to our show as Aunt Martha in Episode 409, Stare at the Same Fires. May she rise and rest in peace and power."

After making her acting debut in the late 1960s in Dashiki Project Theatre productions, Sutton appeared in productions such as The Last Madam, Native Tongues and A Raisin in the Sun.

She moved to television in 1974 with The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman with Cicely Tyson and had roles in In the Heat of the Night and the TV film Uncle Tom's Cabin with Avery Brooks. Her recent TV credits included Scream Queens, the 2016 remake of the series Roots, Treme, True Detective and Lovecraft Country.

Her film work includes roles in movies including Monster's Ball, Ray and The Help. She played a policewoman in The Pelican Brief with Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington and a nurse opposite Sally Field, Dolly Parton and Shirley MacLaine in Steel Magnolias. She was a judge in The Big Easy with Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin.

She is survived by her son, Archie; daughter, Aunya; brother, Oris Buckner; sister, Adrienne Jopes; and five grandchildren.