Theresa Merritt

Singer, Actor
Theresa Merritt was an actress who was no stranger to being featured in numerous film roles throughout her Hollywood career. She portrayed the legendary blues singer Ma Rainey in August Wilson's award-winning "Ma ... Read more »
Born: 09/24/1922 in Emporia, Virginia, USA

Filmography

Actor (20)

Cosby 1997 - 1998 (Tv Show)

Actor

Home Fries 1998 (Movie)

Mrs. Vaughn (Actor)

NYPD Blue 1997 - 1998 (Tv Show)

Actor

Billy Madison 1995 (Movie)

Juanita (Actor)

Driving Miss Daisy 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

13 East 1988 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Silence Like Glass 1990 (Movie)

Sister Wilson (Actor)

Miracle at Beekman's Place 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Astonished 1988 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Serpent and the Rainbow 1988 (Movie)

Simone (Actor)

My Man Bovanne 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas 1982 (Movie)

Jewel (Actor)

All That Jazz 1979 (Movie)

Cast Member (Actor)

The Great Santini 1979 (Movie)

Arrabelle Smalls (Actor)

The Wiz 1978 (Movie)

Aunt Em (Actor)

The Goodbye Girl 1977 (Movie)

Mrs Crosby (Actor)

That's My Mama 1974 - 1976 (TV Show)

Actor

They Might Be Giants 1971 (Movie)

Peggy (Actor)

J.T. 1969 - 1970 (TV Show)

Actor

Concealed Enemies (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

Theresa Merritt was an actress who was no stranger to being featured in numerous film roles throughout her Hollywood career. She portrayed the legendary blues singer Ma Rainey in August Wilson's award-winning "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." In 1973, she portrayed Mammy in the stage musical "Gone With the Wind." In 1972, she was in the cast of Melvin Van Peebles' "Don't Play Us Cheap." Merritt's acting career began mostly with her roles in various films, such as the comedy adaptation "They Might Be Giants" (1971) with George C Scott, the Richard Dreyfuss comedy "The Goodbye Girl" (1977) and the musical "The Wiz" (1978) with Diana Ross. She also appeared in the adaptation "All That Jazz" (1979) with Roy Scheider and the drama "The Great Santini" (1979) with Robert Duvall. She had an early role on the television special "J.T." (CBS, 1969-1970). She worked in television in her early acting career as well, including a part on "That's My Mama" (ABC, 1974-76). Her work around this time also included a part on the TV movie "Miracle at Beekman's Place" (NBC, 1988-89). She also contributed to a variety of television specials, including "Concealed Enemies" (PBS, 1983-84) and "My Man Bovanne" (PBS, 1986-87). She also worked in television around this time, including a part on "13 East" (NBC, 1988-1990). She also had roles in film during these years, including roles in "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" (1982) and "Astonished" (1988). Merritt took on film roles in more recent years, appearing in the Bill Pullman thriller "The Serpent and the Rainbow" (1988), the Jami Gertz drama "Silence Like Glass" (1990) and the Adam Sandler comedy "Billy Madison" (1995). Additionally, she appeared on the television special "Driving Miss Daisy" (CBS, 1991-92). She also worked in television during these years, including roles in "NYPD Blue" (1993-2005) and "Cosby" (CBS, 1996-2000). Merritt last acted in the Drew Barrymore comedy "Home Fries" (1998). Merritt's husband was Benjamin Hines and Merritt had four children. Merritt passed away in June 1998 at the age of 76.

Relationships

Denise Hines

Daughter

Benjamin Hines Jr

Son

Dennis Hines

Son

Norman Hines

Son

Benjamin Hines

Husband
married c. 1946 survived her

M Wacksman

Niece
survived her

EDUCATION

Temple University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Settlement School of Music

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Milestones

1995

Last feature appearance in "Billy Madison"

1982

Played Jewel in "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas"

1978

Cast as Auntie Em in Sidney Lumet's screen version of "The Wiz"

1976

Returned to Broadway to play the wicked witch Eveline in "The Wiz," an all-black musical version of "The Wizard of Oz"

1974

Starred as Mama in the ABC sitcom "That's My Mama"

1973

Portrayed Mammy in the stage musical "Gone With the Wind"

1972

Was in the cast of Melvin Van Peebles' "Don't Play Us Cheap"

1970

Had a featured role in "They Might Be Giants"

1943

Stage debut in "Carmen Jones" (date approximate)

Portrayed the legendary blues singer Ma Rainey in August Wilson's award-winning "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"

Worked as a singer with Harry Belafonte and Jackie Wilson

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