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.


Parents day at Seattle Grace Mercy Death. LOL. I don't mind because I like Jackson.
But I need to see Alex's mom too. It's a must!


Jackie forgot his lunch so mommy stopped by to bring it! eh! eh! eh!


I know TPTB love her but since I don't care about Avery, I can't see myself investing in his mother.


I just watched a re-run of GA that featured Alex's brother. It would be nice to meet the rest of Alex's family. Most viewers can't stand Avery Jackson, so why the big fuss over his mother? Let's stick to the original cast members and concentrate on them.


True the show is called "Grey's Anatomy". But the show was actually named after the book called "Grey's Anatomy". After 7 yrs I'm pretty sure we already know everything there is to know about Meredith Grey. With EP and PD's contracts being up the end of season 8 and SR not knowing if they are staying or going. SR is bringing the other actors to the front and center and trying to build story lines around them. We have to be invested in new actors and there story lines. So the show won't lose it's ratings and be taken off the air. I'm no fortune teller or whatever. But I figure probably season 10 will be Grey's last.


Shonda are going to waste more time in the Mercy Wester. I dont care about them. I hope she focus more on Meredith and Derek relationship and stop wasting time on these other characters.


I hope Avery's mom disapproves of his staying at the frat house and tells him to find somewhere else to live. Who really would want to live with a married couple who are having problems an are adopting a baby????? Oh, I forgot this is Shonda's SL to get Avery and Kepner liked by GA fans


@SMileyGlen. Thanks for your answer.


whose mother in GA I'd like to meet most?
Cri's Mon Helen Rubenstein, I was much impressed by Helen character,then I'd like to see Cristina interacted with her monther-in-law (Owen's mom) acted by Debra Mooney


I just quickly went over Season 6 and Mark told Arizona that his mother was dead and his father is never going to get off the couch, it is episode 20 just after daughter Sloane goes through her bag for the adoption papers.

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Grey's Anatomy Quotes

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)

Burke was- He took something from me. He took little pieces of me, little pieces over time, so small I didn't even notice, you know? He wanted me to be something I wasn't, and I made myself into what he wanted. One day I was me Cristina Yang, and then suddenly I was lying for him, and jeopardizing my career, and agreeing to be married and wearing a ring, and being a bride. Until I was standing there in a wedding dress with no eyebrows, and I wasn't Cristina Yang anymore. And even then, I would've married him. I would have. I lost myself for a long time. And now that I'm finally me again, I can't. I love you. I love you more than I loved Burke. I love you. And that scares the crap out of me because when you asked me to ignore Teddy's page, you took a piece of me, and I let you. And that will never happen again.