Before she became a quintessential TV mom of the ’90s, Douglas was making her mark on the world of film. She co-starred in the 1989 dance drama “Tap,” which told the story of a man torn between his innate talent as a tap dancer and the life of crime he found himself swept up in. The movie was directed by Nick Castle, who originated the role of famed horror movie villain Michael Myers, and was one of the final film performances of Sammy Davis Jr. For her role as Broadway dancer Amy, Douglas won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture.
Douglas went on to appear in films like “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” “School of Rock,” and Angela Bassett’s Whitney Houston biopic “Whitney,” in which she played the late singer’s mother, Cissy Houston. She also starred in a 2003 remake of the classic film “Sounder,” for which she received an NAACP Image Award nomination and the Black Reel Award for Television: Best Actress.
Douglas has many TV credits to her name, including the recurring role of Dr. Rebecca Dixon on both “Touched by an Angel” and its spin-off, “Promised Land,” as well as guest-starring stints on “Law & Order: SVU,” “The Good Wife,” Bones,” and “Bull.” Her final credits were in Ava DuVernay’s acclaimed Central Park Five miniseries “When They See Us” and the romantic drama “Really Love.”
DuVernay took to Twitter following the news of Douglas’ death to write, “Suzzanne Douglas was a quiet, elegant force … A confident, caring actor who breathed life into the words and made them shimmer. I’m grateful that our paths in this life crossed. May she journey on in peace and love.”