Debbie Allen Cast as Jackson's Mom on Grey's Anatomy

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Shonda Rhimes has gotten her wish.

Actor-director Debbie Allen, a favorite of the Grey's Anatomy creator, has just been cast in the upcoming eighth season of the series as Catherine Avery, mother of Jackson.

Allen is no stranger to Grey’s, where she’s previously directed three episodes. But it will be her first appearance in front of the camera on the long-running ABC drama.

D. Allen

Can you see Debbie Allen as Mrs. Avery? We absolutely can.

Despite a slew of TV directing credits to her name (Everybody Hates Chris, That’s So Raven), Allen is best known as an actress for her work in the movie Fame.

She has also appeared as a judge on So You Think You Can Dance.

She’ll lend some insight into Jackson’s family in the fifth episode of the eighth season, which premieres September 22. We have met Jackson's grandfather, but for the most part, his past remains an open book. What do you think brings her to town?

UPDATE: Allen has personally commented on coming to GA via her rep:

“I had heard rumors about me acting on Grey's for the last year but I was so happy directing I didn't sweat it. But when my agent called and said I had an offer 'I hollered out loud'. Grey's is so well written, cast and crafted I am beyond excited to be added as an actor."

"I love that I am playing Jessie/Jackson's (no pun intended) mother. The story is 'OFF THE CHAIN' for real. But you will have to watch the show to see what happens."

"I'm not sayin' nuthin' except Shonda Rhimes and her crew make Grey's Anatomy brand new every year. It is privilege to a part of something that is so relevant, so moving and so captivating for millions.”

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Grey's Anatomy Quotes

[narrating] "At the end of the day, when it comes down to it, all we really want is to be close to somebody. So this thing where we all keep our distance and pretend not to care about each other, it's usually a load of bull. So we pick and choose who we want to remain close to, and once we've chosen those people, we tend to stick close by. No matter how much we hurt them. The people that are still with you at the end of the day, those are the ones worth keeping. And sure, sometimes close can be too close. But sometimes, that invasion of personal space, it can be exactly what you need."

MEREDITH

Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)