Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole

Highest Rated: 83% Coming Home (1978)

Lowest Rated: 12% First Sunday (2008)

Birthday: Nov 26, 1942

Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, USA

A black character player of numerous period TV miniseries, usually cast as mature, overly proper, stylish women, Olivia Cole is perhaps best recalled for her Emmy-winning turn as Mathilda, wife of Chicken George (Ben Vereen) and great-grandmother of Alex Haley on the famed miniseries "Roots" (ABC, 1977). Her other miniseries leads have included playing Maggie Rogers, the head maid at the Executive Mansion in "Backstairs at The White House" (1979), and Miss Sophie, the waspish, snoopy arbiter of morality aghast that lesbians are afoot in "The Women of Brewster Place" (ABC, 1989) and its 1990 short-lived series spin-off. After completing studies at RADA in London, Cole spent several years honing her craft in regional theater. She landed her first regular TV role on the CBS daytime soap "The Guiding Light" before segueing to features and primetime in the mid-70s. Her film roles include small supporting parts in "Heroes" (1977) and "Coming Home" (1978). She was particularly effective as the long-suffering wife of the bitter husband and father (Paul Winfield) in the 1984 production of James Baldwin's "Go Tell It On the Mountain." Cole has appeared as Ned Beatty's district supervisor on the CBS sitcom "Szysznyk" (1977) and later played Michael Keaton's social worker boss on "Report to Murphy" (ABC, 1982). Finding herself typecast in period pieces and as characters that were older and dowdier than herself, the actress became less active in film and TV in the 90s. Her final film role came in the Ice Cube comedy "First Sunday" (2008). Olivia Cole died of a heart attack in Mexico in January 2018. She was 75.


Highest Rated Movies



12% 57% First Sunday Momma T (Character) $37.9M 2008
No Score Yet 94% The Women of Brewster Place Unknown (Character) - 1989
No Score Yet No Score Yet Something About Amelia Ruth Walters (Character) - 1984
No Score Yet 64% Go Tell It on the Mountain Elizabeth (Character) - 1984
40% 28% Some Kind of Hero Jesse Keller (Character) - 1982
No Score Yet No Score Yet Fly Away Home Sarah Brookford (Character) - 1981
No Score Yet No Score Yet Children of Divorce Betty Williams (Character) - 1980
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Sky Is Gray Octavia (Character) - 1980
83% 83% Coming Home Corrine (Character) - 1978
No Score Yet 49% Heroes Jane Adcox (Character) - 1977


No Score Yet No Score Yet Murder, She Wrote Unknown (Guest Star) 1995 1991 1985
82% No Score Yet Christy Unknown (Guest Star) 1995
100% No Score Yet Brewster Place Miss Sophie (Character) 1990
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Women of Brewster Place Unknown (Character) 1989
No Score Yet No Score Yet North and South Unknown (Character) 1985
No Score Yet No Score Yet Backstairs at the White House Unknown (Character) 1979
No Score Yet No Score Yet Roots Mathilda (Character) 1977
No Score Yet No Score Yet Police Woman Dr. Dorothy Bailey (Guest Star) 1975-1976


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