Steel Magnolias Actress Carol Sutton Dies of COVID-19 at Age 76

"Carol Sutton was practically the Queen of New Orleans theater," wrote New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell

Carol Sutton

Carol Sutton, a veteran actress on both the stage and screen, died Thursday at the age of 76 due to complications from COVID-19.

Sutton had been hospitalized at New Orleans’ Touro Infirmary for several days prior to her death, according to WGNO.

Sutton played Nurse Pam in 1989’s Steel Magnolias, starring Sally Field, Dolly Parton and Julia Roberts. On TV, she appeared in an episode of Queen Sugar, as well as episodes of True Detective and, most recently, HBO’s Lovecraft Country.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell confirmed the news of her death in a lengthy tribute on Friday.

“Carol Sutton was practically the Queen of New Orleans theater, having graced the stages across the city for decades,” Cantrell wrote, before noting her most famed theater performances, including A Raisin in the Sun.

She continued, “The world may recognize 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 in productions such as ‘4000 Miles’ and ‘A Raisin in the Sun.’ May she rest in God's perfect peace.”

Director Ava DuVernay, who created and executive produces Queen Sugar, also shared a tribute to Sutton on Friday.

“On behalf of the QUEEN SUGAR family, we celebrate the life of the stellar Carol Sutton,” DuVernay wrote alongside a clip from the episode starring Sutton. “It was our honor to welcome this veteran actress of stage + screen to our show as Aunt Martha in Episode 409, ‘Stare at the Same Fires.’ We bless her. May she rise and rest in peace and power.”

Actress Anika Noni Rose added in her own tweet, “RIP Ms. Carol. I love you. And I will miss you so much.”

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