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Zara Cully
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    (January 26, 1892-February 28, 1978)
    Born in Worcester, Massachusetts
    Portrayed Mother Jefferson in The Jeffersons
    Appeared in the films ‘The Liberation of L.B. Jones’ (1970), ‘Brother John’ (1971), ‘Sugar Hill’ (1974), and ‘Darktown Strutters’ (1975)
    She made her TV debut in her mid-70s.
    In addition to Mother Jefferson, many of the other characters she portrayed were known as ‘Mama’ or ‘Mother.’
    She missed much of the third season of ‘The Jeffersons’ due to health problems.
    She was married to James M. Brown for 54 years.
    She outlived two of her four children.
    She was a drama teacher at Edward Waters College, a historically black college in Jacksonville, and was known as Florida’s ‘Dean of Drama.’
    She said about her encounters with racism in the South, ‘I was always having conflicts because I couldn’t take it. If I’d been a man, I guess I would have been lynched.’
    Despite being a nonsmoker, she died of lung cancer.
    She received a posthumous NAACP Image Award.

Credit: C. Fishel

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