”A Different World and Sparkle” actress Mary Alice has died at the age of 85. Alice died on Wednesday at her home in Manhattan, a spokesperson for the NYPD confirms to PEOPLE. A cause of death was not provided.
The actress’s death was also confirmed by “one of her close friends,” according to Philip Lewis of HuffPost, who announced the news on his Twitter Thursday.
Mary Alice Smith known professionally as Mary Alice, was an American film, television, and stage actress. Alice was known for her roles as Leticia “Lettie” Bostic on NBC’s A Different World and Effie Williams in the 1976 musical drama Sparkle.
“Mary Alice, known for her roles as ‘Lettie’ on A Different World and Effie Williams in Sparkle, has died, one of her close friends tells me,” Lewis wrote.
“‘We are all very sad at the loss,'” he shared from the source’s statement.
Lewis also posted two photos of Alice — the first of her at the 45th Emmy Award Governor’s Ball in 1993 with her award in hand, and the second of her in character.
Mary Alice won a Tony in 1987 for her performance as Rose Maxson in the original Broadway production of August Wilson’s Fences.
Among the tributes to Alice on social media, actress Viola Davis, who played Rose in stage and movie versions, writes, “RIP Mary Alice…the original Rose Maxson.
She was born Mary Alice Smith in 1936 in Indianola, Miss., and spent several years as a schoolteacher in Chicago before moving to New York to pursue acting full time.
In a career that spanned more than three decades, Alice performed on stage and screen, in comedies and dramas.
Actress Mary Alice Cause Of Death
A cause of death is not yet known and will be determined by the medical examiner. Police investigate her death cause.