Theresa Merritt
Theresa Merritt Hines
(September 24, 1922- June 12, 1998) was an American stage, film and direction actress and singer.


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 (Tony Award nomination) and The Wiz (she replaced Mabel King as Evelline, and although the demanding role was a highly visible one for her she left it, citing its deleterious effect on her voice) and the television series That's My Mama.

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.

Personal Life and DeathEdit

Merritt was married to Benjamin Hines; they had four children. Merritt died of skin cancer on June 12, 1998 in The Bronx.



Year Title Role
1971 They Might Be Giants Peggy
1977 Proof of the Man Peggy
The Goodbye Girl Mrs. Crosby
1978 The Wiz Aunt Emma
1979 The Great Santini Arrabella Smalls
All That Jazz Cast of NY/LA
1982 The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Jewel
1988 Astonished Ida
The Serpent and the Rainbow Simone
1989 Zwei Frauen Nurse Wilson
1991 Voodoo Dawn Madame Daslay
1995 Billy Madison Juanita
1998 Dangerous Proposition Grace
Home Fries Mrs. Vaughan


Year Title Role
1969 J.T. Mama Meley
1973 The Furst Family of Washington Eloise "Mama" Furst
1974-1975 That's My Mama Eloise "Mama" Curtis
1975 Police Story Mrs. Johnson
1980 NBC Special Treat
1983 The Love Boat Faye Pillips
1984 Concealed Enemies Clytie Catlett
1988 Miracle at Beekman's Place Sarag Coleman
1997 Law & Order Ruth Titus
1998 NYPD Blue Bernice
Cosby Edna Stone
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.