Mary Alice, Fences and The Matrix Revolutions Actress, Dies at 86

Mary Alice, an actress best known for award-winning performances in television, on the stage, and in films, has passed away at the age of 86. The Hollywood Reporter brings word of her death, confirming that she passed away in her home in New York City, no cause of death was revealed at the time. Alice has regularly appeared on television since the 1970s, winning a Primetime Emmy award for NBC's I'll Fly Away and appearing in The Cosby Show spinoff series A Different World. Her final appearance in a project was also on TV, guest starring in a 2005 episode of the Ving Rhames-lead Kojak reboot.

Though her career spanned four decades, many fans might best recognize Alice for taking on the role of The Oracle in the third Matrix movie, The Matrix Revolutions. In the time between filming her scenes for The Matrix Reloaded and the third outing, actress Gloria Foster, who originally played The Oracle, passed away as well, with The Wachowskis hiring Alice to fill in and complete the character's story for the movie. Alice would also play the role of the character in the 2003 video game Enter The Matrix as well.

An accomplished actress across the stage and screen, Alice made her mark on multiple fronts and across several genres. Though many fans may recognize her for appearing in The Matrix franchise, she was a prominent stage actress decades before. Notably, Alice originated the role of Rose in August Wilson's Fences, winning the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her part opposite James Earl Jones (who also won the Tony). 

"I based her not only on myself but on my mother, my aunts, my grandmother and other women I knew growing up in Chicago in the 1950s," Alice revealed to The New York Times in the wake of Fences' success. "Sometimes you just feel an affinity; you immediately know who a person is, and she's one of those roles I identified with very early on."

Some of Alice's other television credits include appearances on Sanford and Son, Good Times, All My Children, L.A. Law, Law & Order, Touched by an Angel, and OZ. On the big screen she would also appear in films like Malcolm X, A Perfect World, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and the 1976 musical-drama Sparkle.

Our thoughts are with her friends and family during this difficult time.