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Mary Alice, Emmy-Winning A Different World Star, Dies

Alice was known for her decades of work on the stage and screen.
  • Mary Alice (Photo: Everett Collection)
    Mary Alice (Photo: Everett Collection)

    Beloved actress Mary Alice, known for her roles in film, television, and on Broadway, has died. She was in her 80s.

    Alice played Leticia "Lettie" Bostic on the first two seasons of A Different World, the popular Cosby Show spinoff. Her other television roles included Oz, Law and Order, and NBC's I'll Fly Away, for which she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama.

    The late star was also known for playing Effie Williams in the 1976 musical film Sparkle about the rise of The Supremes and for her role as the Oracle in The Matrix Revolutions (2003). In addition, she appeared in films including Malcolm X, Awakenings, and A Perfect World.

    Beyond her on-screen work, Alice was an accomplished stage actress, winning a Tony award for her role as Rose in the 1987 Broadway production of August Wilson's "Fences."

    The New York City Police Department confirmed to Deadline that Alice had died at her home in Manhattan, but did not provide a cause of death.

    After news of Alice's death broke, Hollywood stars paid tribute to her on social media. Viola Davis, who starred in the film version of Fences, 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"

    Actor Colman Domingo also paid his respects online, writing, "A shoulder we all stood on. A round of applause for Mary Alice. Thank you legend. Rest Easy."

    Kirstie Renae is a writer, blogger, and Austin-based actress with a penchant for binge-watching TV with her dogs. Follow her on Twitter @KirstieRenae.

    TOPICS: A Different World, Mary Alice, Obits