Mary Alice, the Tony- and Emmy-winning actress known best for “Fences” and “I’ll Fly Away,” died Wednesday. She was 85.

Alice died of natural causes at her Manhattan apartment, the NYPD told the Daily News.

Alice won the 1987 Tony for best featured actress for her work as Rose in “Fences.” The August Wilson play debuted in 1985 at Yale Repertory Theatre and made it to Broadway two years later before dominating that year’s Tony Awards.

Acting across from James Earl Jones as Troy, Alice enthralled audiences with her authoritative performance.

“I just tried to understand (Rose) and to place myself in her shoes,” Alice said in a 1987 interview. “I think Troy is a character who has a magnificent spirit, and Rose had to be someone who would complement that, in her devotion, her support, her loving and nurturing and taking care of him.”

Six years later, Alice won an outstanding supporting actress Emmy for her performance in “I’ll Fly Away.” She had been nominated for the same award a year earlier as well.

Younger audiences would perhaps recognize Alice best for her brief but crucial appearance as the Oracle in 2003′s “The Matrix Revolutions.”

“RIP Mary Alice…the original Rose Maxson,” said Viola Davis, who won an Oscar for portraying Rose in the 2016 “Fences” film. “You were one of the greatest actresses of all time!! Thank you for the work, inspiration and thank you for Rose. Godspeed Queen.”

Born Dec. 3, 1936, in Indianola, Miss., Alice’s family moved to Chicago when she was still young. She attended Chicago Teachers College (later Chicago State) and, naturally, her first career was in teaching.

Breaking News

Breaking News

As it happens

Get updates on the coronavirus pandemic and other news as it happens with our free breaking news email alerts.

Alice joined a local theater company and became a professional in 1966. She quit teaching the next year and took her dreams to New York before starting at Yale Rep.

She appeared in a few TV series and a 1974 TV movie, “The Sty of the Blind Pig,” that she would later say was her favorite role.

“There’s no role I’ve ever played where there’s been a character as complex as I am, as a person is, as a woman is,” she said in a 2002 interview. “It was just the most satisfying role that I’ve ever played.”

Alice continued working as a strong character actor throughout the 1970s and into the ‘80s before her big break in “Fences.” During that time, her standout performance came in the 1976 fan-favorite “Sparkle” about the rise of Diana Ross and the Supremes.

After starring in “Fences,” Alice landed a main role on the “Cosby Show” spinoff “A Different World” and continued appearing in plays, movies and TV shows through the back half of her career. Her final screen role came in the 2005 remake of “Kojak.”

“You will work for many, many people. Sometimes it will be pleasant; sometimes it will be unpleasant,” Alice said in 2002. “So you need something within you that you know is yours and that no one can take away from you.”

With Emma Seiwell

Source link

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *