Friday, July 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Sheila MacRae | On 'Honeymooners,' 92

Sheila MacRae
Sheila MacRae
Sheila MacRae, 92, starred on the Broadway stage and in films, yet it was her small-screen role as the tolerant and brassy wife of a Brooklyn bus driver for which she is most remembered.

Ms. MacRae, best known for playing Alice Kramden to Jackie Gleason's Ralph in the 1960s re-creation of The Honeymooners, died Thursday.

The actress died at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, N.J., her granddaughter, Allison Mullavey, told the Associated Press on Friday.

In the 1950s version of The Honeymooners, Audrey Meadows starred with Gleason as the lovebirds and sparring partners Ralph and Alice. Sheila MacRae replaced Meadows as Alice in a later version from 1966-70 on The Jackie Gleason Show.

Ms. 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," said her daughter, actress Heather MacRae.

"She had a great life, my mom, she really did. She was quite a broad," Heather MacRae said. "Fascinating, almost like an Auntie Mame character."

Ms. MacRae, who suffered from dementia but was otherwise in good health, had been hospitalized for a minor surgical procedure. Her death came suddenly Thursday night, apparently the result of old age, Heather MacRae said.

A singer, dancer, and actress, Ms. MacRae was married to Oklahoma! and Carousel star Gordon MacRae for 26 years, and they appeared together in 1964 on The Ed Sullivan Show when the Beatles were featured.

The couple divorced in 1967.

Afterward, Ms. MacRae was married to Ronald Wayne, who produced Gleason's show, her daughter said. They later divorced. - AP

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