Mary Alice Biography (1941-)

Full name, Mary Alice Smith; born December 3, 1941, in Indianola, MS; daughter of Sam and Ozelar (maiden name, Jurnakin) Smith. Addresses: c/o Writers & Artists Agency, 8383 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90024-6095.

Favorite role--Alberta in The Sty of the Blind Pig. Mary Alicetold CTFT "I am very proud to be an actor. I chose this profession because I feel this is how I can fulfill my service as a human being--communicating the human condition.... My desire is to create interesting and complex characters on film and television."

Nationality
American
Gender
Female
Occupation
actress
Birth Details
December 3, 1941
Indianola, Mississippi, United States

Famous Works

  • CREDITS
  • Stage Appearances
  • (Off-Broadway debut) Trials of Jero, The Strong Breed, both Greenwich Mews Theatre, 1967
  • A Rat's Mass, La Mama Experimental Theatre Club (ETC), New York City, 1969
  • (Broadway debut) Cora Beasley, No Place to Be Somebody, Morosco Theatre, 1971
  • Velma Best, The Duplex, Forum Theatre, New York City, 1972
  • Christine, Miss Julie, Roundabout Theatre, New York City, 1973
  • Girlfriend, woman poet, and loved one, House Party, American PlaceTheatre, New York City, 1973
  • Thoughts, La Mama ETC, then Theatre de Lys, New York City, both 1973
  • Mhandi's wife, Black Sunlight, St. Mark's Playhouse, New York City, 1974
  • Older wife and Octavia, Terraces, St. Mark's Playhouse, 1974
  • Mrs. Moore, Heaven and Hell's Agreement, St. Mark's Playhouse, 1974
  • Maybelle, In the Deepest Part of Sleep, St. Mark's Playhouse,1974
  • Reba, Cockfight, American Place Theatre, 1977
  • Queeny, Nongogo, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York City, 1978
  • For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, Adelaide Festival, Australia, 1978
  • Portia, Julius Caesar, New York Shakespeare Festival, Public Theatre, New York City, 1979
  • Player #9, Spell #7, New York Shakespeare Festival, Public Theatre, 1979
  • Rachel Tate, Zooman and the Sign, Negro Ensemble Company, TheatreFour, New York City, 1980
  • Phumla Hlophe, Glasshouse, Theatre at St. Peter's Church, NewYork City, 1981
  • Open Admissions, Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven, CT, 1982
  • Essie, Take Me Along, Manhattan Community College Performing ArtsCenter, New York City, 1984
  • A Raisin in the Sun, Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, CT, 1984
  • Rose, Fences, Goodman Theatre, Chicago, IL, 1985 , then 46th Street Theatre, New York City, 1987
  • Bessie, Having Our Say, McCart Theater, Princeton, NJ, then BoothTheater, New York City, 1995
  • Made stage debut in Purlie Victorious, Chicago, IL.
  • Film Appearances
  • (Film debut) Moms, The Education of Sonny Carson, Paramount, 1974
  • Effie, Sparkle, Warner Bros., 1976
  • Linda Ganz, Teachers, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1984
  • Cora, Beat Street, Orion, 1985
  • Annie Lamb, The Bonfire of the Vanities, 1990
  • Suzie, To Sleep with Anger, 1990
  • Nurse Margaret, Awakenings, 1990
  • School teacher, Malcolm X, 1992
  • Lottie, A Perfect World, 1993
  • Mrs. Gordon, Life with Mikey (also known as Give Me a Break), 1993
  • Evelyn, The Inkwell (also known as No Ordinary Summer), 1994
  • Mary Jones, Heading Home, 1995
  • Alice, Bed of Roses, New Line Cinema, 1996
  • Grandma Rosa Lynn Sinclair, Down in the Delta, Miramax, 1998
  • Mattie, The Wishing Tree, 1999
  • Violet, The Photographer, 2000
  • Dolores Williams, Catfish in Black Bean Sauce, Iron Hill Pictures,2000
  • Television Appearances
  • Series
  • Mrs. Hubbard, All My Children, ABC, 1981
  • Lettie Bostic, a recurring role, A Different World, NBC, 1987-89
  • Marguerite Peck, I'll Fly Away, NBC, 1991-93
  • Movies
  • Helen Mayfield, Just an Old Sweet Song (also known as Down Home), CBS, 1976
  • Minnie Hayward, Lawman Without a Gun, 1977
  • Minnie Hayward, This Man Stands Alone, NBC, 1979
  • Altona Johns, The Vernon Johns Story (also known as The Road toFreedom: The Vernon Johns Story), syndicated, 1994
  • Adele Thompson, Ray Alexander: A Menu for Murder, NBC, 1995
  • Specials
  • Requiem for a Nun, PBS, 1975
  • Donie, Joshua's World, 1980
  • Mrs. Garth, The Color of Friendship, 1981
  • Lilah Dean, The Killing Floor, PBS, 1983
  • Edith Murray, Concealed Enemies, PBS, 1984
  • Blind Lilly, Charlotte Forten's Mission: Experiment in Freedom(also known as Half-Slave, Half-Free 2), 1985
  • Black lady, The Mother, PBS, 1994
  • Miniseries
  • Fannie Michael, The Women of Brewster Place, ABC, 1989
  • Maggie Arnett, Laurel Avenue, HBO, 1993
  • Episodic
  • Frances Victor, Sanford and Son, 1972
  • Alberta, "The Sty of the Blind Pig," Hollywood Television Theatre,PBS, 1974
  • Frances Victor, "My Brother-In-Law's Keeper," Sanford and Son,1975
  • Frances Victor, "Brother, Can You Spare an Act?," Sanford and Son, 1975
  • Loretta, "The Baby," Good Times, 1975
  • Maxine Manley, "Watts a Matter?," L.A. Law, NBC, 1990
  • Virginia Bryan, "Mother Love," Law & Order, NBC, 1993
  • Ella Clarke, "Baby-Sitting," Orleans, CBS, 1997
  • Loretta, "Afterschool Delight," Cosby, CBS, 1999

Further Reference

OTHER SOURCES

    Periodicals:
    • Current Biography, November, 1995, p. 38.
    • Essence, July, 1995, p. 50.

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