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Valarie Pettiford as young Billies mother

Valarie Pettiford, 40, is a singer, dancer and Broadway star. At 14, Pettiford was in the ensemble of the movie, The Wiz, starring Michael Jackson. In her twenties, she performed with a group called The Stingers, "but things didn't work out." Broadway did, winning her a Tony nomination for her singing and dancing in Fosse. She won raves doing the musical Chicago in London opposite Chita Rivera and was honoured to be in the national touring company of Bob Fosse's Dancin'. On TV, Pettiford has been featured on The X-Files, Walker Texas Ranger and Sliders, among others. She's even done time on the soaps - as detective Courtney Walker in Another World and Sheila Price on One Life To Live. Based in L.A

Pettiford portrays the alcoholic mother of Carey's waif who ends up in New York and eventually becomes a pop music star. "This is a great chance for Mariah to spread her wings," reports the veteran trouper. "I told Mariah I was proud to have her as my daughter. It's a sweet story with lots of singing and dancing." And maybe not enough Pettiford. "I'm early in her life and show up again later," she says of her role. Adds Pettiford: "The great thing about my part is that I also get to sing a song, and I think it's one written by Mariah." So how is Carey going to do in her first movie? "She'll do fine, and she's a sweetheart," says Pettiford

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