Carol Sutton, whose half-century long acting career spanned stage, movies, and television, died Thursday at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans. She was 76 and died of complications of coronavirus infection, said Tommye Myrick, a friend and local theater director.
“Among actors in New Orleans, there was Carol Sutton – and there was everybody else,” said David Cuthbert, a retired critic for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “She opened her mouth, and out came truth. Wherever she was on stage, that was center stage.”
Sutton started her career in local New Orleans theater 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 and went on to roles in such movies as Monster’s Ball, Ray, Steel Magnolias and The Help, and in the television series Tremé, True Detective and Lovecraft Country.
Sutton said she never considered leaving her hometown.
“When everyone else left, I never had a desire to leave New Orleans. I never wanted to go to L.A. or New York,” she told Myrick in a 2019 interview. “In those places, there were hundreds of people trying to do the same things I wanted to do. If I wanted to get on stage or get in a movie, I was able to do that right here.”
Born Carol Dickerson, she enrolled at Xavier University, but dropped out to marry Archie Sutton. They eventually divorced.
Sutton received a New Orleans Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
Survivors include a son, Archie Sutton Jr. of Houston; a daughter, Aunya Sutton of New Orleans; a brother, Oris Buckner of Houston; a sister, Adrienne Jopes of Houston; and five grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are pending.