It's always disheartening to see one of your favorite actors missing from a series you enjoy watching. It's especially tough when they're a beloved talent who managed to build a respectable body of work outside of that show. Carol Sutton of Queen Sugar, which airs on the Oprah Winfrey Network, is one such talent. Which is probably why so many fans of the show are wondering what happened to her.
What happened to Carol Sutton?
Sadly, it was reported that the Steel Magnolias star died due to complications brought on by COVID-19 while under the care of medical professionals at the Tuoro Infirmary in her native New Orleans. She died in December of 2020 at 76 years old, Variety reports.
Carol was a stage legend in Louisiana. She made her acting debut in Dashiki Project Theater shows, tackling big roles in productions like A Raisin in the Sun, The Last Madam, and Native Tongues.
Her most recent TV credits were in Outer Banks, Queen Sugar, Lovecraft Country, True Detective, the Roots remake, Treme, and Scream Queens, but her onscreen body of work dates back to 1974 when she performed in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Her last project, Freedom's Path, is currently in post-production and is slated for a 2021 release.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell discussed Carol's impact in an emotional statement on Dec. 11: "Carol Sutton was practically the Queen of New Orleans theater, having graced the stages across the city for decades. 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."
Queen Sugar creator Ava Duvernay also released a statement honoring Sutton's life in the wake of the actress' passing: "It was our honor 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."
'Outer Banks' dedicated a Season 2 episode to the actress.
The Netflix drama dedicated Episode 6 of its second season to Carol, who played Pope's MeMaw. Pope visits her in a nursing home after discovering a mysterious key in his great-grandmother's ceiling and asks her questions in the hopes of learning more about his family's history and Denmark Tanny, one of his ancestors.
Carol wasn't just an actress. She spent a considerable amount of time performing social work for the organization Total Community Action, which works towards bridging the poverty gap for low-income families.
Several other notable figures, like Mark Duplass, who wrote about working with Carol on Jeff, Who Lives at Home, spoke about their experiences with her and the impact she had. "I was fortunate enough to work with her for a few days ... what a beautiful person and life," the filmmaker and The League actor wrote.
Anika Noni Rose, who famously voiced Tiana in The Princess and the Frog, wrote, "RIP Ms. Carol. I love you. And I will miss you so much. #CarolSutton #NOLA #Covid19 #YourCountryOwedYouBetter," in response to the actor's passing.
Queen Sugar airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on OWN.