A Look Back At The Life And Career Of Mary Alice Smith

Today, the family of actress Mary Alice Smith announced her passing on the night of Wednesday, July 27, in New York City. Known professionally as Mary Alice, the Tony and Emmy Award-winning talent had a career that spanned fifty years, first acting in theater plays in the 1960s and transitioning into film and television in the decades that followed.

Mary Alice officially retired from acting in 2005, but left a legacy of memorable roles in her wake, from starring as Effie Williams in the musical Sparkle in the ’70s and playing the beloved dorm director Lettie on A Different World in the ’80s, all the way up to taking on the character of the oracle in The Matrix Revolutions in the early 200s.

Born in Mississippi, Mary Alice moved with her family to Chicago when she was just two years old. It was there that she began acting in community theater after graduating from Chicago Teacher’s College and teaching at an elementary school. Acting soon led Mary Alice to New York City where she appeared in multiple theater productions before making her big screen debut in the 1974 film The Education of Sonny Carson. TV roles soon followed on shows like Police Woman and Sanford and Son along with additional parts on the silver screen in Malcolm X, Down in the Delta, and The Inkwell.

As we remember the cinematic gifts Mary Alice left behind, here we take a look at her life and career.


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