Mary Alice, Actress in ‘Fences,’ ‘A Different World’ and ‘The Matrix Revolutions,’ Dies at 85

(Image: Screenshot/YouTube/Josh S)

Mary Alice, an Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress best known for playing as Lettie Bostic in the 1980s series “A Different World,” has passed away.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, she was 85 years old, while other news sources were unclear about her age.

Wednesday, she passed away at her New York City residence, the NYPD informed the Reporter. No cause of death was specified.

She began performing in her community at an early age after being born in Indianola, Mississippi, but briefly left the industry to teach elementary school in Chicago. She exchanged her textbooks for storylines and returned to theatre production in the 1960s. Mary Alice continued to perform in Manhattan’s East Village during the 1960s and 1970s.

She had appearances on television shows including “Police Woman” and “Sanford and Son” in 1974. Her debut film was “The Education of Sonny Carson.”

Alice is well-known for her performance as Effie Williams in the 1976 musical drama “Sparkle” and for her portrayal of the Oracle in the 2003 blockbuster film “The Matrix Revolutions” by Lilly and Lana Wachowski.

She won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her role as Rose in the 1987 production of August Wilson’s “Fences.” “I’ll Fly Away” earned her the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 1992.

In the 1980s, she portrayed dorm director Bostic on the “Cosby Show” spinoff for two seasons. She also played Ellie Grant Hubbard in “All My Children” during those years.

She has also appeared in “Malcolm X,” “The Inkwell,” “Down in the Delta,” “Beat Street,” “To Sleep With Anger,” “Awakenings,” “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” and “Sunshine State.”

In 2000, Alice was voted into the American Theater Hall of Fame; she retired from acting in 2005.