Movies

Hollywood actress Mary Alice dies at 80: A Different World, Sparkle

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.

Sad Farwell: Hollywood actress Mary Alice has died at the age of 80. The actress 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.  Seen in NYC in 2007

Sad Farwell: Hollywood actress Mary Alice has died at the age of 80. The actress 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. Seen in NYC in 2007

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.

Her top show: The star was best know as Leticia 'Lettie' Bostic on the NBC TV show A Different World;  seen right with Jasmine Guy left in 1988

Her top show: The star was best know as Leticia ‘Lettie’ Bostic on the NBC TV show A Different World; seen right with Jasmine Guy left in 1988

She sparkled in Sparkle: She also stood out for her role as Effie Williams in the 1976 musical drama Sparkle

She sparkled in Sparkle: She also stood out for her role as Effie Williams in the 1976 musical drama Sparkle

A stage performer too: Here she is seen at the Drama League lunch in 1987

A stage performer too: Here she is seen at the Drama League lunch in 1987

Friends: With actor James Earl Jones at the Tony Awards Nominees Luncheon in 1987

Friends: With actor James Earl Jones at the Tony Awards Nominees Luncheon in 1987

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.

Golden girl: In 1993 she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series I'll Fly Away

Golden girl: In 1993 she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series I’ll Fly Away

Thanks!  Alice accepting an Emmy Award at The 45th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Pasadena, California;  to the right are Heather Locklear and Andrew Shue from Melrose Place

Thanks! Alice accepting an Emmy Award at The 45th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Pasadena, California; to the right are Heather Locklear and Andrew Shue from Melrose Place

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.

The Oracle with Keanu Reeves: 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 and played the role in the video game Enter the Matrix too

The Oracle with Keanu Reeves: 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 and played the role in the video game Enter the Matrix too

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.

Heartbreak: Law & Order actress S Epatha Merkerson shared this tribute

Heartbreak: Law & Order actress S Epatha Merkerson shared this tribute

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 a 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

Friends: Seen right with Phylicia Rashad left at the Signature Theater Company's Salute to August Wilson in NYC

Friends: Seen right with Phylicia Rashad left at the Signature Theater Company’s Salute to August Wilson in NYC

In 2000, she was inducted into the American Theater 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.

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