Shonka Dukureh, a singer and actress in “Elvis,” died at the age of 44.
In “Elvis,” Shonka Dukureh played Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton.
(CNN): Shonka Dukureh died on Thursday. She was a singer and actress who played Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton in the new Baz Luhrmann movie “Elvis.”
She turned 44.
Dukureh’s body was found in the apartment she shared with her two young children in Nashville. Police said there was no sign of a crime.
Thornton, an R&B singer who was the first person to record the song “Hound Dog,” which Elvis Presley made famously, was Dukureh’s first major film role.
She is on the soundtrack for the movie “Elvis,” and the song “Vegas” by Doja Cat, which is also on the soundtrack, has a music video with her in it. Also, Dukureh and Doja Cat played together at the Coachella music festival in April.
Dukureh talked about her first big role in “Elvis” in an interview she posted on Instagram last week. She wrote, “Gratefulness is where I live because my grandmother, great-grandmother, mother, and family showed me how to be grateful and taught it to me. It’s not a sign of weakness or begging for scraps. Instead, it’s a recognition that good things don’t always happen and that when they do, being thankful is the least we can do.”