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Sheila MacRae passes away

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.


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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bjrickmon March 08 2014 at 2:42 PM

god bless her she is a stare in hevem she will never be forgotten

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Maureen Wilson March 08 2014 at 2:49 PM

Jerrycindi, you must be nuts. She was a great star, so unless you have a very personal connection with the family keep you mouth shut. The world doesn't go around with people like you on it. She was a absolutely wonderful actress and her daughter doesn't make it sound like she was a horrible person. Sheila have a wonderful time in heaven. :)

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jerryclose13 March 08 2014 at 2:28 PM

She also had a famous daughter, Merideth Mac Rae, who starred in" Petticoat Junction" and "My Three Sons". A philanthropist and Advocate of the Arts, she died from a brain tumor at her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Manhattan Beach, CA...

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lc5401 March 08 2014 at 2:26 PM


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ibironhorse March 08 2014 at 2:22 PM

And how old was she?

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2 replies
Susie ibironhorse March 08 2014 at 2:27 PM

She was born in 1920.

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Jack ibironhorse March 08 2014 at 2:29 PM

Born 1920.

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julie60432 March 08 2014 at 2:59 PM

RIP Sheila, you and your cast brought lots of fun and laughter into many homes!

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1 reply
MaggieR julie60432 March 08 2014 at 3:11 PM

yes she did..I loved her a lot loved the honeymooners seems like all the goodies are all going to heaven...RIP and love to your family

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donheydon March 08 2014 at 2:09 PM

Never saw her play that role and have only seen a bit of Audrey Meadows playing it. The Honeymooners is classic but really before my time.

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1 reply
David S. donheydon March 08 2014 at 3:11 PM

They revived it in the 1960's.......I think it was set in Miami and in color (a big deal then). It was OK, but not the same as the orginal in the 1950's.

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Jonathan March 08 2014 at 2:07 PM

All these wonderful stars are leaving us. We will miss them. Yet, we also thank them for all the happiness and joy they brought to us through their work on TV, stage and movies.

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1 reply
ejjljjr Jonathan March 08 2014 at 2:36 PM

They are an age when actors could act. I sit watching some of these new movies and dramas on TV and I am not impressed with the acting. Every time I see one of these old time actors dying, it's just another nail in the coffin of true acting.

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margaretsheeran4 March 08 2014 at 2:40 PM

What a live. Too bad her marriages did not survive. I loved the Jackie Gleason show and the honey mooners. She was a talented and beautiful woman.

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SoyKe1956 March 08 2014 at 2:39 PM

I think alot of actors and actresses could take a lesson from the older shows,they were simple ,clean fun,sad to see another one pass. It sounds like she led a good life,sympathy to her family

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