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Carol Mayo Jenkins Inducted into Educators Hall of Honor

Black and white portrait photo of Carol Mayo Jenkins

Carol Mayo Jenkins

Carol Mayo Jenkins has been a working actor for more than 60 years. Throughout her illustrious career, she is most famous for playing Elizabeth Sherwood, a liberal and stern but fair-minded English teacher at New York City’s High School for the Performing Arts on the television series Fame.

Carol trained for three years at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London and was one of the founders of the Drama Centre London, now considered one of the leading theatre schools in England.

Returning to America, she joined the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. She made her Broadway debut as Natasha in William Ball’s production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters. Other Broadway appearances include Oedipus Rex with John Cullum, First Monday in October with Jane Alexander and Henry Fonda, and The Suicide with Derek Jacobi. Off-Broadway, Ms. Jenkins appeared in The Lady’s Not for Burning, Little Eyolf, and The Old Ones, among many others.

Carol then went to Los Angeles with the award-winning television series, Fame, in which she played English teacher, Elizabeth Sherwood, for five years. She was asked by playwright Edward Albee to play Martha in his production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, with which she toured the United States, Lithuania and Russia.

Ms. Jenkins has worked extensively in regional theatre since her years in television. She played Mary Tyrone at the Denver Center Theatre, Marquise de Merteuil at the Cleveland Playhouse, Circe in Circe and Bravo at Wisdom Bridge Theatre in Chicago, Mrs. Higgins in Pygmalion at Seattle Repertory Theatre, and various selections in Albee’s Women at the Old Globe Theatre. She has done four plays at San Jose Repertory Theatre; Amy’s View, By the Bog of Cats (with Holly Hunter), Las Meninas, and Enchanted April. In Northern California she played Arkadina in The Sea Gull, another Mrs. Graves in Enchanted April, and directed Private Lives.

In Knoxville, Carol was a founder of the Carousel Theatre. She served as an Artist in Residence at the University of Tennessee’s Department of Theatre and performed in many productions at the Clarence Brown Theater for 22 years before retiring in September of 2023.