Known for movies

Short Info

Date Of BirthJanuary 26, 1892
DiedFebruary 28, 1978, Los Angeles, California, United States
SpouseJames M. Brown, Sr.
FactThough she died of lung cancer, she did not smoke nor drink.

Zara Cully was born on January 26, 1892, in Providence, Rhode Island, to parents who were both former slaves. Her early education took place at the Lincoln Grammar School in Providence. Cully began her career as a stage actress, appearing in various productions in New York City. In 1925, she made her Broadway debut in the play “Lysistrata. ” Cully’s big break came in 1951 when she was cast as the character “Mother Jefferson” on the CBS television series “All in the Family.

” The show was a huge success, and Cully became a household name. She appeared on the show for four seasons, until 1975. Cully’s other television credits include guest appearances on “The Love Boat” and “The Cosby Show. ” She also appeared in the films “The Sting” (1973) and “The Muppet Movie” (1979).

Cully was married three times and had two children. She died of natural causes on February 28, 1978, at the age of 86.

General Info

Full NameZara Cully
Date Of BirthJanuary 26, 1892
DiedFebruary 28, 1978, Los Angeles, California, United States
Place Of BirthWorcester, Massachusetts, United States
ProfessionTeacher, Character Actor


SpouseJames M. Brown, Sr.
ChildrenJames M. Brown, Jr., Polly Buggs, Emerson Brown
SiblingsWendell Cully


NominationsTV Land Favorite Mother-In-Law Award, TV Land Favorite "Big, Bad Momma" Award
MoviesSugar Hill, Brother John, The Liberation of L.B. Jones
TV ShowsThe Jeffersons

Social profile links


1She was posthumously awarded the NAACP special Image Award at the 11th Annual NAACP Award ceremony on June 9, 1978.
2Following her death, she was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Freedom Mausoleum, Columbarium of Victory in Glendale, California.
3She missed most of the fifth season of The Jeffersons (1975) because she was ill with pneumonia and a collapsed lung. She became ill again and died during the sixth season.
4Two of her children died before her: a son, James, Jr. and a daughter who died at birth.
5Had nine siblings.
6Taught drama at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida. She moved to Los Angeles, California after experiencing hostile racism in Florida.
7Though she died of lung cancer, she did not smoke nor drink.
8Character actress, best known as George Jefferson's mother on The Jeffersons (1975) on CBS. She graduated from the Worcester School of Speech and Music. A resident of Jacksonville, Florida, she participated in local theatre as writer, producer, director and performer.




The Jeffersons1975-1977TV SeriesMother Jefferson Mother Olivia Jefferson
Darktown Strutters1975Lorelai
All in the Family1974-1975TV SeriesMother Jefferson
Sugar Hill1974Mama Maitresse
A Dream for Christmas1973TV MovieBeth Rogers
Mod Squad1972TV SeriesMrs. Jones
Night Gallery1971TV SeriesEmba (segment "Logoda's Heads")
Brother John1971Miss Nettie
The Great White Hope1970Mrs. Jefferson's Friend (uncredited)
WUSA1970White Haired Woman
The Liberation of L.B. Jones1970Mama Lavorn
Cowboy in Africa1967TV SeriesJacob's mother
Run for Your Life1966TV SeriesOld Woman
Days of Our Lives1965TV SeriesMrs. Davis (1971)


Nominated Awards

2005TV Land AwardTV Land AwardsFavorite Mother-In-LawThe Jeffersons (1975)
2004TV Land AwardTV Land AwardsFavorite "Big, Bad Momma"The Jeffersons (1975)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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