Sheila MacRae passes away

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Sheila MacRae passes away
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2000: Liza Kirk, Sheila MacRae, Gary Morton, Lucille Ball and Maureen O'Sullivan (l. to r.) at a party for Lucille Ball at Tambourlaine Restaurant. (Photo by Tom Cunningham/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Sheila MacRae during The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences 2004 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony - Arrivals at ATAS Leonard H. Goldenson Theater in North Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage)
Sheila MacRae during Billy Crystal Makes His Broadway Debut in '700 Sundays' at The Broadhurst Theater/Tavern on the Green in New York, NY, United States. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
Actress Arlene Dahl and actress Sheila Macrae at theAcademy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Official New York Oscar Night Celebration at Le Cirque 2000 in New York on March 25, 2001. (Photo by Gabe Palacio/Getty Images)
FILE - MARCH 06: Actress Sheila MacRae of "The Honeymooners" died on March 6, 2014 in Englewood, New Jersey. She was 93 years old. NEW YORK - APRIL 17: Sheila MacRae attends the opening night of "A Catered Affair" at the Walter Kerr Theater on April 17, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
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ENGLEWOOD, N.J. (AP) -- Sheila MacRae 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.

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., MacRae's 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." MacRae was the last survivor from the `60s edition of the Gleason show. Jane Kean, who played Trixie Norton, died last fall.

'Honeymooners' Actress Sheila MacRae Dies At 93
"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 Autie Mame character."

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, said Heather MacRae.

A singer, dancer and actress, 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.

She had put her career on hold while she devoted herself to MacRae and their four 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 appeared together in musicals including "Guys and Dolls," with Sheila MacRae taking her performance as Miss Adelaide to Broadway in 1965.

The couple divorced in 1967.

Actress Shirley Jones, in a statement released by MacRae's family, called Sheila MacRae "a great lady" with extraordinary talent who "helped me to be a better mother."

After her divorce from Gordon MacRae, she was married to Ronald Wayne, who produced Gleason's show, her daughter said. They later divorced.

Sheila MacRae played the role of Madelyn Richmond on the soap opera "General Hospital" and was host of "The Sheila MacRae Show."

"She lived a good life and a long life," Mullavey said. "We'll miss her."

A native of London, England, Sheila MacRae emigrated to America with her parents during World War II.

Survivors include children Heather and William "Gar" MacRae, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Daughter Meredith died in 2000 and son Robert in 2010, Heather MacRae said.

Funeral services for her mother were pending, she said.

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AP Television Writer Lynn Elber in Los Angeles and Associated Press national writer Hillel Italie in New York contributed to this report.

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