5th Annual TV Land Awards - ArrivalsOlivia Cole, who won an Emmy for her stirring performance in 1977's "Roots," has died at the age of 75.

Her agent, Susie Schwarz told The Hollywood Reporter that the actress passed away last Friday in her home Mexico. No cause of death was given.

Cole was born in Memphis, Tennessee and began her acting career on "Guiding Light" in 1969. She went on to appear in dozens of television shows and films, but her major breakout was in ABC's groundbreaking miniseries "Roots." She played devout matriarch Matilda and won an Emmy Award.

Two years later, she starred in NBC's miniseries "Backstairs at the White House," portraying Maggie Rogers, a real-life maid at the presidential home. For that role, Cole was again nominated for an Emmy.

She starred opposite Oprah Winfrey in ABC's 1989 miniseries "The Women of Brewster Place." Cole also appeared in "Murder, She Wrote," "L.A. Law," "North and South," and "Report to Murphy," as well as "Coming Home," "Go Tell It On the Mountain," and "First Sunday."

In 1971, she married actor Richard Venture in one of the few interracial marriages in Hollywood at the time. They later divorced; Venture died last month. Cole lived in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for more than 30 years.

Roots TV Show Poster
TVPGJanuary 23, 1977

A 1977 miniseries based on Alex Haley's book tells the story of African teen Kunta Kinte, brought to America to be enslaved, and the generations of his family. Read More

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