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.


Just a thought where is Mother Avery gonna camp? Can't see her at the frat house aka Meredith's with new baby and so forth. Plus no room at the inn.


I would like to see more of Owen's mother. I was surprised to see a brief glimpse of the talented Debra Mooney and then not even see her at the wedding.


Mark made a reference to his father not getting off the couch anytime soon, so I just assumed from that fact Mark's father would be in a wheelchair for him to come for a visit. Mark made this reference back in Season 6 around the time daughter Sloane was giving her son up for adoption.


FINALLY some storyline for Avery.He has so much potential as a character but other then being Lexie's rebound in an overdone stale love triangle and holding the nursing station prop up(and looking dashing wile doing it) he hasnt had much show. I love the beautiful and supremely talented Debbie Allen and I look forward to her appearance.


I hope Jackson's mom doesn't accept Lexie and she goes back to Mark.


@ smileyglen: From which episode do we know that Mark has a wheelchair bound father? I think I missed this.


We have seen many moms and dads at GA but nothing can compare to Burke's mom.


Hey smiley have you applied for a writers job yet lol.


I think having a parents day would be a great idea: Meredith & Lexie have Thatcher. Derek has Carolyn. Mark has a wheelchair bound father,(so you would think Mark's dad would know Derek's mum since Derek and Mark have been BFF's since they were 10). We met Cristina's mother Helen Rubenstein,when she was about to marry Burke, let's now meet Cristina's step-father Dr Saul Rubenstein he is a Oral Surgeon. We also have met Callie and Arizona's parents at their wedding. We got to see Owen's mother briefly back in Season 5. We met Bailey's father in Season 6. We have seen Chief Webber's family since season 1 with his niece having cancer and the prom in which Derek and Meredith started their affair and before his divorce from Addison. Now it's time to meet April's parents, Alex's mother and maybe Alex's rehabilitated musician father, he could be still singing etc, he could be appearing in Joe's bar, Alex hear's his father's voice and takes one look at the singer and quickly exits the bar, you could have Meredith chase after him, demanding to know who the guy in the bar was? Left out Teddy maybe have her parents pop in for a visit and she will need to explain why she got married and not notifying the family that she did such a thing and they want to meet her new husband Henry. I could go on for ever but I won't. I do hope Shonda Rhimes reads these websites and gathers some of our ideas and runs with her own.


I wish Seattle Grace-Mercy West Hospital did a Parent Day where all of the doctors have their parents come in. As unrealistic and stupid as it sounds, I think it would be great as we see everyones parents and know more information about them.

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Grey's Anatomy Quotes

There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone, because what if you learn that you need love and you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.


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)