March 8, 2014 in Nation/World

Sheila MacRae, former ‘Honeymooner,’ dies

Associated Press
 

ENGLEWOOD, N.J. – 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 Thursday at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, N.J., MacRae’s granddaughter, Allison Mullavey, said 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 Auntie 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, Heather MacRae said.

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.

In the 1950s 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.

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