Renowned actress Mary Alice Smith, known simply as Mary Alice, has passed away. She died of natural causes in her residence in Manhattan at the age of 85.

Born in Indianola, Mississippi and raised in Chicago, Mary Alice's career spanned over six decades across television, film and theater. After graduating from Chicago Teacher's College and working as a school teacher for a short time, she made the decision to become an actress. Her earliest roles were in the Manhattan community theater circuit throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

Mary Alice was best known for her roles as Leticia "Lettie" Bostic on the Black cult classic sitcom A Different World. An Emmy-award winner, she starred in the popular soap opera All My Children in the 80's as Ellie Grant Hubbard. Mary Alice also appeared in shows such as Sanford and Son, The Women of Brewster Place, Police Woman and I'll Fly Away—which earned her the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama. In film, she became a recognizable talent. She also starred as Effie Williams in the 1976 musical Sparkle, the mother of the sisters—Sister, Sparkle, and Delore—within the singing group. Later, she went on to play in equally iconic films such as The Matrix Revolutions as Oracle, The Inkwell, Down in the Delta, Malcolm X and many others.

A talented thespian, her work in the theater ranged from the Tony and Drama Desk award winning play Fences, in which she played Rose from 1987-1988, to playing Dr. Bessie Delaney in the play Having Our Say. Mary Alice was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2000.

We at EBONY offer our heartfelt prayers and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mary Alice.