Theresa Merritt

Theresa Merritt Hines (September 24, 1922 – June 12, 1998) was an American stage, film, and television actress and singer. She’s known for her role in That’s My Mama (1974-1975) and for her film roles in The Wiz (1978), Billy Madison (1995).

Born in Emporia, Virginia, Merritt appeared in many theatrical productions but gained fame later in life when she starred in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, for which she earned a Tony Award nomination, and The Wiz, in which she replaced Mabel King as Evelline. She left The Wiz, citing the role’s harmful effect on her voice. She then starred in the television sitcom That’s My Mama.

Merritt’s other Broadway credits included Mule Bone (1991), Division Street (1980), Don’t Play Us Cheap! (1972), The Crucible (1972), Trumpets of the Lord (1969), Golden Boy (1964), Tambourines to Glory (1963), and Carmen Jones (1943, 1945, 1947). She also toured with road companies of Funny Girl, Show Boat, and South Pacific.

Her most notable film roles were Aunt Em in the 1978 film version of The Wiz, Mrs. Crosby in the 1977 film adaptation of Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl, and Juanita in the Adam Sandler comedy Billy Madison. She also appeared alongside Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton in the film adaptation of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. –Wikipedia

NFT Credits

Credit Type Production Season
Actor Trouble in Mind (A Black Retrospective 5) 1978-79 Season
Actor God’s Trombones 1989-90 Season