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Zara Cully 1892-1978

Country : Worcester, Massachusetts
Profession : Actress
Date of birth : 1892-01-26
Date of death : 1978-02-28
Cause of Death : Cancer

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Zara Cully (January 26, 1892February 28, 1978) was an American character actress known for her acid-tongued portrayal of Olivia (‘Mother’) Jefferson on the TV sitcom The Jeffersons.

She did not come into acting until quite late. She made her television debut in "Run For Your Life" in 1966 at the age of 74. She appeared in character roles through out the 1960 and 1970 in such television series as "Night Gallery," "Days of Our Live," and "The Mod Squad." Her best remembered role, however, was that of Mother Jefferson who was introduced in a 1974 episode of "All in the Family." She reprised the role once more before the spinoff series, "The Jeffersons" saw her as a recurring character through some thirty episodes from 1975 through 1977; her last appearance was the episode "The Last Leaf." She succumbed to cancer the following year at the age of 86.

Her death was not incorporated into the show immediately (her last appearance was on the episode "The Last Leaf"). In September of the year she died (1978), it was mentioned in the first part of the "Homecoming" episode that Mother Jefferson had died, but there was no special episode centering on her death.

Cully was born in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Cully was sometimes credited as Zara Cully Brown. She died in Los Angeles, California, aged 86, from cancer.


  1. "The Jeffersons" .... Mother Jefferson (34 episodes, 1975-1978)
    - The Last Leaf (1977) TV episode .... Mother Jefferson
    - The Grand Opening: Part 1 (1977) TV episode .... Mother Jefferson
    - The Grand Opening: Part 2 (1977) TV episode .... Mother Jefferson
    - The Old Flame (1977) TV episode .... Mother Jefferson
    - Louise vs. Jenny (1977) TV episode .... Mother Jefferson
  2. Darktown Strutters (1975) .... Lorelai
    ... aka Get Down and Boogie (USA: reissue title)
  3. "All in the Family" .... Mother Jefferson (2 episodes, 1974-1975)
    - The Jeffersons Move on Up (1975) TV episode .... Mother Jefferson
    - Lionel's Engagement (1974) TV episode .... Mother Jefferson
  4. Sugar Hill (1974) .... Mama Maitresse
    ... aka The Zombies of Sugar Hill
    ... aka Voodoo Girl
  5. A Dream for Christmas (1973) (TV) .... Beth Rogers
  6. "The Mod Squad" .... Mrs. Jones (1 episode, 1972)
    - Another Final Game (1972) TV episode .... Mrs. Jones
  7. "Days of Our Lives" (1965) TV series .... Mrs. Davis (unknown episodes, 1971)
    ... aka "Cruise of Deception: Days of Our Lives" (USA: summer title)
    ... aka "DOOL" (USA: informal short title)
    ... aka "Days" (USA: short title)
  8. "Night Gallery" .... Emba (1 episode, 1971)
    ... aka "Rod Serling's Night Gallery" (USA)
    - Logoda's Heads (1971) TV episode .... Emba
  9. Brother John (1971) .... Miss Nettie
  10. WUSA (1970) .... White-Haired Woman
  11. The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970) .... Mama Lavorn
  12. "Cowboy in Africa" .... Jacob's mother (1 episode, 1967)
    - Lake Sinclair (1967) TV episode .... Jacob's mother
  13. "Run for Your Life" .... Old Woman (1 episode, 1966)
    - Strangers at the Door (1966) TV episode .... Old Woman

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