Hollywood film and TV actress Mary Alice has died at the age of 80.
The Tony and Emmy award winning star passed away on Wednesday in New York City, according to the New York Police Department which spoke to Variety. Her cause of death is not yet known.
The star was best known as Leticia ‘Lettie’ Bostic on the NBC TV show A Different World. She also stood out for her role as Effie Williams in the 1976 musical drama Sparkle.
And she was a part of one of the most popular film franchises of all time: she popped up in 2003’s The Matrix Revolutions as The Oracle opposite Keanu Reeves and played the role again in the video game Enter The Matrix.
She was born December 3, 1941 in Indianola, Mississippi per several sources, but others say that she was born in 1937, per Variety.
When she was age two she moved with her family to Chicago.
The star became interested in acting when in school then moved to New York City to work on stage plays like The Rat’s Mass and Street Sounds.
Throughout her career, she returned to the stage.
Alice received a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her appearance in the 1987 production of August Wilson’s Fences.
But her heart belonged to the screen.
She made her small screen debut in the movie The Education of Sonny Carson about a gangster who goes to prison, which came out in 1974.
The actress then popped up on popular TV shows such as Police Woman, Good Times and Sanford And Son as a guest star.
In 1976 she had a small part on the series Serpico.
Then came her first soap opera: in 1980 she was cast on All My Children where she played Ellie Grant.
Next was A Different World as Leticia ‘Lettie’ Bostic whom she played from 1987 until 1989.
More films followed, like a small role in 1992’s Malcolm X and 1993’s A Perfect World.
In 1993 she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series I’ll Fly Away.
In 1994 she was in The Inkwell, The Vernon Johns Story, and Heading Home.
In 1995 she appeared in Ray Alexander: A Menu for Murder and in 1996 she was in Bed of Roses.
More films followed like 1998’s Down in the Delta, 1999’s Catfish in Black Bean Sauce and The Wishing Tree Mattie, 2000’s The Photographer Violet, 2001’s The Last Brickmaker in America, 2002’s Sunshine State, 2002’s The Life Emiline Crane and 2003’s The Matrix Revolutions
In 2000, she was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.
She retired from acting in 2005.
Tributes poured in soon after the news broke of her death.
Viola Davis tweeted, ‘RIP Mary Alice…the original Rose Maxson. You were one of the greatest actresses of all time!! Thank you for the work, inspiration and thank you for Rose. Godspeed Queen ❤️❤️❤️❤️.’
Law & Order actress S Epatha Merkerson shared a broken heart emoji.