Englewood: Sheila MacRae , a veteran stage, film and TV performer best known for playing Alice Kramden in the 1960s re-creation of “The Honeymooners,” has died. She was 92.
The actress died on Thursday at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey, MacRae’s granddaughter, Allison Mullavey, told The Associated Press on Friday.
“She had a great life, my mom, she really did. She was quite a broad,” said her daughter, actress Heather MacRae. “Fascinating, almost like an Autie Mame character.”
MacRae, who suffered from dementia but was otherwise in good health, had been hospitalised for a minor surgical procedure. Her death came suddenly Thursday night, apparently the result of old age, said Heather MacRae.
“She lived a good life and a long life,” Mullavey said. “We’ll miss her.”
A singer, dancer and actress, MacRae was married to “Oklahoma” star Gordon MacRae for 26 years, and they appeared together in 1964 on “The Ed Sullivan Show” when the Beatles were featured.
She had put her career on hold while she devoted herself to MacRae and their children, Heather MacRae said. After helping her husband with his nightclub act, she decided to join him and her career took off, her daughter said. The couple later divorced.
In an earlier version of “The Honeymooners,” Audrey Meadows starred with Jackie Gleason as lovebirds and sparring partners Ralph and Alice Kramden. Sheila MacRae replaced Meadows as Alice in a later version from 1966-70 on “The Jackie Gleason Show.” MacRae was the last survivor from the ‘60s edition of the Gleason show. Jane Kean, who played Trixie Norton, died last fall.
“My mother referred to herself as the last Mrs. Kramden,” Heather MacRae said.
Sheila and Gordon MacRae divorced in the late 1960s and she married Ronald Wayne, who produced Gleason’s show, her daughter said.
A native of London, England, MacRae made a cameo appearance as herself on “I Love Lucy” in the ‘50s.