Who is Suzi Bass?
Those who knew Suzi Bass remember her generosity and loving spirit, her passion, her sensual nature, and that irrepressible laugh. Strong, loving and big-hearted, Suzi was always a woman to respect. Her career, which spanned four decades, began when she arrived in Atlanta with her family, and was cast in a community theatre production. She pursued her new career whole-heartedly, becoming one of Atlanta’s best-loved performers. As Suzi later said, “I feel like I was destined to do this.” She excelled in comic roles, but they weren’t the limit of her talent: she stretched into classics by Shakespeare and Lorca; she proved the depth of her abilities as Amanda in The Glass Menagerie and as Josie in A Moon for the Misbegotten.
In the 1980s, Suzi joined Actors’ Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and began working in film and TV. She had a recurring role on “In the Heat of the Night,” a character in “I’ll Fly Away,” and roles in several TV movies. Suzis growing career didn’t stop with production hours. Her involvement with AEA turned into membership on the AEA Liaison Committee and long hours as the “voice” of the Equity Hotline in Atlanta. Not content with volunteering for Equity, Suzi was active in the Atlanta chapters of both AFTRA and SAG, eventually becoming SAG Atlanta President in the late nineties.
The 1990s introduced regional audiences to Suzi’s talents, and eight seasons with the Alliance Theatre’s A Christmas Carol insured that home audiences didn’t miss her too much. During this time Suzi continued to work in film and television, bringing life to waitresses, gossipy neighbors, nurses and clericals in Chill Factor, My Cousin Vinny, Fried Green Tomatoes, Getting Out, and Chattahoochee, among others.
Despite bouts with life-threatening illness, she continued working and playing with unflagging gusto both in films and on stage. Her “retirement” from acting in order to be treated included a three-week shoot for the movie Sweet Home Alabama and the title role in the short feature Petunia, both released in 2003, after Suzi had passed away. She received critical and audience acclaim for her last role, Evelyn in Amy’s View at Theatre in the Square.
We honor Suzi Bass by naming Atlanta’s distinguished theatre award for her, to recognize her spirit, her boundless energy and her tireless commitment to Atlanta theatre.
Suzi Bass (December 29, 1949 – May 17, 2002)