WASHINGTON — Award-winning actress Mary Alice, known for her roles as Leticia "Lettie" Bostic on NBC's "A Different World" and as Effie Williams in "Sparkle," has died, according to multiple media reports.
"A shoulder we all stood on. A round of applause for Mary Alice. Thank you legend. Rest Easy," actor Colman Domingo tweeted.
Before becoming an actress, Alice was a school teacher in Chicago. She acted in a community theatre group before landing her first professional role in 1966, in Douglas Turner's New York-based Negro Ensemble Company that was on tour in Chicago. A year later, Alice quit her teaching job and moved to New York.
Alice won a Emmy Award for her role as Marguerite Peck in the NBC drama "I'll Fly Away," which also starred Sam Waterston and Regina Taylor.
On Broadway, Alice won the Tony Award in 1987 for best featured actress in a play for portraying Rose in the original run of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning "Fences."
Viola Davis, who starred in the same role in the 2016 film adaptation 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."
Alice was nominated for another Tony in 1995 for "Having Our Say," and was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2000.
She appeared in two seasons of "The Cosby Show" spin-off "A Different World." In 2003, she appeared in "The Matrix Revolutions" as The Oracle.
In films, Alice appeared in "Beat Street," "Malcom X," "The Inkwell," "Down in the Delta," "Awakenings," "To Sleep With Anger" and many others.
She retired from acting in 2005.