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

MEREDITH: "You don't get to call me a whore. When I met you, I thought I had found the person that I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was done! All the boys and all the bars and all the obvious daddy issues, who cares? I was done. You left me. You chose Addison. I'm all glued back together now. I make no apologies for how I chose to repair what you broke. You don't get to call me a whore."
DEREK: "This thing with us is finished. It's over."
MEREDITH: "Finally."
DEREK: "Yeah, it's done."
MEREDITH: "It is done."

Lexie: [narrating] Grief may be a thing we all have in common, but it looks different on everyone.
Mark: It isn't just death we have to grieve. It's life. It's loss. It's change.
Alex: And when we wonder why it has to suck so much sometimes, has to hurt so bad. The thing we gotta try to remember is that it can turn on a dime.
Izzie: That's how you stay alive. When it hurts so much you can't breathe, that's how you survive.
Derek: By remembering that one day, somehow, impossibly, you won't feel this way. It won't hurt this much.
Bailey: Grief comes in its own time for everyone, in its own way.
Owen: So the best we can do, the best anyone can do, is try for honesty.
Meredith: The really crappy thing, the very worst part of grief is that you can't control it.
Arizona: The best we can do is try to let ourselves feel it when it comes.
Callie: And let it go when we can.
Meredith: The very worst part is that the minute you think you're past it, it starts all over again.
Cristina: And always, every time, it takes your breath away.
Meredith: There are five stages of grief. They look different on all of us, but there are always five.
Alex: Denial.
Derek: Anger.
Bailey: Bargaining.
Lexie: Depression.
Richard: Acceptance.