Mary Alice, Actress in ‘The Matrix Revolutions’ and ‘Fences,’ Dies

by Taylor Cunningham

Tony Award-winning actress Mary Alice has died. The star is most known for her part in Broadway’s Fences and playing the oracle in The Matrix Revolutions.

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, police say that Alice passed away in her New York City home on Wednesday, July 28th.

Mary Alice began her life as a Chicago schoolteacher before branching into Hollywood in 1970. She began her screen-side career in All My Children before earning back-to-back Emmy nods in 1992 and 1993. She ultimately won her second nomination for playing Marguerite Peck in the series I’ll Fly Away.

One of her most infamous roles was in the 1976 cult classic Sparkle. The story was inspired by The Supremes. Alice played Effie, a single mother raising two daughters in the city.

“Only in her mid-30s when she played the role, Alice beautifully crystallized — and saluted — all the mothers who went the extra mile for their children,” Bob McCann wrote in Encyclopedia of African American Actresses in Film and Television.

In 2001, Mary Alice joined The Matrix franchise when the original oracle, Gloria Foster, passed away. And the story explained the recasting by saying her outer shell was destroyed by a criminal computer program called the Merovingian.

Mary Alice Earned A Tony Award For Her Role in Fences

Offscreen, Alice’s career was just as illustrious. In 1987, The singer earned a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in the Broadway adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Fences. The actress stared as Rose, the wife of James Earl Jones’ Troy.

“Ms. Alice’s performance emphasizes strength over self-pity, open anger over festering bitterness,” New York Times critic Frank Rich wrote in a review. “The actress finds the spiritual quotient in the acceptance that accompanies Rose’s love for a scarred, profoundly complicated man.”

Mary Alice followed up that win with another Tony nomination in 1995. That year, she starred as Bessie Delany in Having Our Say. The musical highlighted two sisters who were reflecting on their lives after making it beyond their 100th birthdays.

Thanks to her successful run on Broadway, she was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2000.

The actress was born Mary Alice Smith in Indianola, Mississippi. And she was raised in Chicago. Her father Sam worked for a laundry company, and her mother Ozelar worked in a factory.

Alice attended school at The Chicago Teacher’s College. Upon graduating, she worked as a Social Security secretary before moving into education, community theater, and eventually Hollywood.

News sources have reported conflicting information on the actress’ age, with several of them writing that she was either 80, 84, or 86. There are currently no details about the cause of death.

This is a developing story.