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Jo Marie Payton (born August 3, 1950) is an American television actress, and singer,who starred most notably as Harriette Winslow on the ABC sitcom, Family Matters, and its parent series, Perfect Strangers. From 2001 - 2005 Jo Marie Payton provided the voice for Suga Mama Proud on Bruce W. Smith's The Proud Family, which reunited her with her former co-star Orlando Brown. The role earned her an NAACP Image Award nomination in 2005. Payton also had a recurring role as the personal assistant to Gregory Hines' character, Ben Doucette (Will Truman's boss), during season two of Will & Grace (1999-2000).


Jo Marie Payton was born on August 3, 1950, in Albany, Georgiamarker. She graduated from Albany State College and continued to donate, host charitable events, and support her alma matter while also continuing her education and making a successful career. From 1989-1997, Payton won over television audiences as Harriette Winslow, a quick-witted and long-suffering wife and mother, on the situation comedy Family Matters. Her character actually originated on the buddy comedy Perfect Strangers in a recurring role as a sarcastic elevator operator from 1987 to 1989. Audiences liked the sharp-talking Harriette so much that the character was spun off into her own show.


In 2002, she appeared on the "TV Moms" episode of the Anne Robinson version of The Weakest Link, where she was the third one voted off.In 2003, Payton and her daughter appeared on a Mother's Day episode of Lingo, playing against fellow TV mom Meredith Baxter and her daughter. Payton and her daughter won. In 2005, Jo Marie Payton provided the voice of Suga Mama in The Proud Family Movie.Her other television credits include Desperate Housewives, Reba, Girlfriends, Wanda at Large, Judging Amy, The Parkers, Will & Grace, The Hughleys, 7th Heaven, Moesha, The Jamie Foxx Show, 227, Silver Spoons, Small Wonder and The New Odd Couple. She also appeared in the Canadian TV mini series The Rev as Mama. She left Family Matters in the middle of the ninth season, with seven episodes left in the series.In 2005, Payton co-hosted the 15th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards with Glynn Turman. In August of 2009 she appeared on Meet the Browns as Shirley Van owen

Personal Life

She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. In 1999, she released a jazz album, entitled 'Southern Shadows'. She has been married three times, and has a daughter with first husband Marc France.

Personal Career

In 2004, in an effort to help raise funds for Virginia Union University, she wrote letters to alumni urging them to donate money in amounts from $18.65 to $186,500, in honor of the University's founding date of 1865.



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