Jo Marie Payton (born August 3, 1950) is an American television actress and singer who starred as Harriette Winslow, the matriarch of the Winslow family on the ABC/CBS sitcom Family Matters, and also appeared in a recurring role on its parent series Perfect Strangers.
Jo Marie Payton was born on August 3, 1950, in Albany, Georgia. In later years, her family moved to Opa-locka, Florida and she completed high school at North Dade Jr./ Sr. High School in Bunche Park, Florida and Miami Carol City Senior High School in Dade County, Florida. She graduated from Albany State University in Albany, Georgia and continued to donate, host charitable events, and support her alma mater while also continuing her education and making a successful career.
From 1989 to 1997, Payton won over television audiences as Harriette Winslow, a wife and mother, on the situation comedy Family Matters. Her character actually originated on the sitcom Perfect Strangers in a recurring role as an elevator operator from 1987 to 1989. Audiences liked the Harriette Winslow character so much that the character was spun off into her own show.
Jo Marie's big break came when she was cast as the elevator operator on the ABC sitcom Perfect Strangers in 1987. Her performance was so well received by audiences that she was given her own sitcom, Family Matters, in 1989. Continuing her character Harriette Winslow from Perfect Strangers, she played a mother in an African-American middle-class family living in Chicago. Payton left Family Matters partway through its final season, appearing for the last time on December 19, 1997. Her character was played by Judyann Elder in the show's remaining eight episodes.
In 2002, she appeared on the "TV Moms" episode of the Anne Robinson version of The Weakest Link, and was the third one voted off. In 2003, Payton and her daughter appeared on a Mother's Day episode of Lingo, playing against fellow TV mom Meredith Baxter and her daughter. Baxter and her daughter won.
In 2005, Jo Marie Payton provided the voice of Suga Mama in The Proud Family Movie. Her other television credits include Desperate Housewives, Reba, Girlfriends, Wanda at Large, Judging Amy, The Parkers, Will & Grace, The Hughleys, 7th Heaven, Moesha, The Jamie Foxx Show, 227, Silver Spoons, Small Wonder and The New Odd Couple. She also appeared in the Canadian TV mini series The Rev as Mama. In 2005, Payton co-hosted the 15th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards with Glynn Turman. In August 2009, she appeared on Meet the Browns as Shirley Van Owen.
She recently hosted her own show on the Hometeam Network, Second Chance with Jomarie Payton.
In 2012 she was in the GMC TV movie special From This Day Forward.