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."

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)