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

Hollywood actress Mary Alice has died aged 80.

The actress died Wednesday in New York City, according to New York police who 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 music drama Sparkle.

Sad farewell: Hollywood actress Mary Alice has passed away at the age of 80.  The actress died on Wednesday in New York City, according to New York police who spoke to Variety.  Her cause of death is not yet known.  Seen in NYC

Sad farewell: Hollywood actress Mary Alice has passed away at the age of 80. The actress died on Wednesday in New York City, according to New York police who spoke to Variety. Her cause of death is not yet known. Seen in NYC

And she was part of one of the most popular movie franchises of all time: she appeared in 2003 in The Matrix Revolutions as The Oracle and also played the part in the video game Enter the Matrix.

According to various sources, she was born on December 3, 1941, in Indianola, Mississippi, but according to Variety, she was born in 1937.

When she was two she moved with her family to Chicago.

Her Top Show: The star was best known as Leticia 'Lettie' Bostic on the NBC TV show A Different World;  seen on the right with Jasmine Guy on the left

Her Top Show: The star was best known as Leticia ‘Lettie’ Bostic on the NBC TV show A Different World; seen on the right with Jasmine Guy on the left

Also a stage performer: here she can be seen at the Drama League lunch

Also a stage performer: here she can be seen at the Drama League lunch

Friends: With actor James Earl Jones at the Tony Awards nominees lunch in 1987

Friends: With actor James Earl Jones at the Tony Awards nominees lunch in 1987

The star became interested in acting while in school and then moved to New York City to work on plays such as The Rat’s Mass and Street Sounds.

Throughout her career, she returned to the stage.

Alice received a Tony Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play for her performance 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

Thank you!  Alice accepts an Emmy Award at the 45th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Pasadena, California;  on the right are Heather Locklear and Andrew Shue of Melrose Place

Thank you! Alice accepts an Emmy Award at the 45th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Pasadena, California; on the right are Heather Locklear and Andrew Shue of Melrose Place

She made her film debut in the film The Education of Sonny Carson about a gangster going to prison, which came out in 1974.

The actress then appeared on popular TV shows such as Police Woman, Good Times and Sanford And Son as a guest star.

In 1976 she had a small role in the Serpico series.

The Oracle with Keanu Reeves: And she was part of one of the most popular movie franchises of all time: she appeared in The Matrix Revolutions in 2003 as The Oracle and also played the part in the video game Enter the Matrix

The Oracle with Keanu Reeves: And she was part of one of the most popular movie franchises of all time: she appeared in The Matrix Revolutions in 2003 as The Oracle and also played the part in the video game Enter the Matrix

Then came her first soap opera: in 1980 she was cast on All My Children where she played Ellie Grant.

Next up was A Different World as Leticia ‘Lettie’ Bostic, who she played from 1987 to 1989.

More films followed, such as 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 Bed of Roses.

More films followed such as 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 The Matrix Revolutions from 2003

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

Friends: Seen on the right with Phylicia Rashad on the 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 stopped acting in 2005.

Shortly after the news of her death broke, the tributes poured in.

Viola Davis tweeted: ‘RIP Mary Alice… the original Rose Maxson. You were one of the greatest actresses of all time!! Thanks for the work, the inspiration and thanks for Rose. Godspeed Queen ❤️❤️❤️❤️.’

Law & Order actress S Epatha Merkerson shared a heartbroken emoji.

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