Hollywood and TV actress Mary Alice, best known for her role as Lettie Bostic in the 1980s sitcom "A Different World", has died at the age of 80. The Tony and Emmy award-winning actress died on Wednesday in New York City, according to the New York Police Department, as quoted by Variety. The exact cause of Alice's death is yet known.
Alice was also known for her role as Effie Williams in the 1976 musical drama 'Sparkle.' She also played a role in one of the most well-known movie franchises of all time, appearing in "The Matrix Revolutions" in 2003 opposite Keanu Reeves and reprising the character in the video game "Enter The Matrix".
Death of a Legend
Alice died Wednesday in her Manhattan apartment, an NYPD spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter. "A shoulder we all stood on. A round of applause for Mary Alice. Thank you legend. Rest Easy," fellow Tony winner Colman Domingo wrote on Twitter.
Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis described her as "one of the greatest actresses of all time" in a tweet.
Several sources claim that she was born on December 3, 1941, in Indianola, Mississippi. However, Variety reports that some sources claim she was actually born in 1937.
She relocated to Chicago with her family when she was two years old. She began performing in her neighborhood when she was a little child, although she momentarily left the industry to work as an elementary school teacher in Chicago.
In the 1960s, she returned to community theatre and exchanged her textbooks for scripts. In the early 1960s and 1970s, Mary Alice went on to land gigs in Manhattan's East Village.
Alice frequently went back to the stage throughout her career. Alice won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her role in the 1987 production of August Wilson's "Fences". But the screen held her heart.
Leaving Behind a Legacy
Alice made her television debut in the 1974 film The Education of Sonny Carson, about a criminal who is sent to prison. The actress then appeared as a guest star on well-known TV programs like "Police Woman", "Good Times", and "Sanford And Son".
She appeared in a minor role in the 1976 season of "Serpico". For two seasons in the 1980s, she portrayed Bostic, a dorm director, on the "Cosby Show" spinoff. She also played Ellie Grant Hubbard in "All My Children" during those years.
The next role she portrayed was Leticia "Lettie" Bostic in A Different World, which she did from 1987 to 1989. Then came other movies, including a small part in "Malcolm X" (1992) and "A Perfect World" (1993).
She won an Emmy in 1993 for her performance in the drama series "I'll Fly Away."
In "The Matrix Revolutions" (2003), Alice took over as The Oracle after Gloria Foster, who played The Oracle in the original two Matrix films, passed away in 2001. It was mentioned that The Oracle's exterior shell had been destroyed by the evil program known as the Merovingian to explain the shift in appearance.
She received a second Tony nomination in 1995 for her performance as Bessie Delany in the two-person play "Having Our Say", in which Foster and she played sisters who were living into their 100th birthdays and considering their lives.
She was admitted to the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2000. She retired from acting in 2005.