By Sandra Rose  | 

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Emmy-winning character actress Mary Alice Smith has died of natural causes. She was 80.

The actress' family announced she passed away on Wednesday, July 28.

The star of stage and screen is best known for her roles as Leticia "Lettie" Bostic on NBC's TV sitcom A Different World (1987–1989) and Effie Williams in the 1976 musical drama Sparkle.

Mary Alice also performed on Broadway and she won an Emmy award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (I'll Fly Away) in 1993.

She also won a Tony Award in 1987 for Best Featured Actress in a Play (Fences).

Fans paid tribute to the actress on Twitter.