Rae Allen, the Tony-winning actress known for roles in Damn Yankees, A League of Their Own and The Sopranos, died early Wednesday morning peacefully in her sleep. She was 95.
Allen was described by many who knew her as “a force of nature” and she had a career to match.
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Born Rae Julia Theresa Abruzzo in Brooklyn, NY, she got her start in Broadway theater productions after graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1947.
Allen earned her first Tony nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play as the nosy reporter Gloria in Damn Yankees in 1955. She was nominated again for Traveler Without Luggage in 1967, and won the Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Play for And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little in 1971.
Allen moved into television and film in 1958, re-creating her stage role in the film adaptation of Damn Yankees. Her song, “Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, Mo,” is still played at Yankees games to this day.
She appeared in such 1960s TV staples as The Untouchables, Car 54, Where Are You? and The Patty Duke Show. On All In the Family, she famously played Edith Bunker’s cousin Amelia.
In the ’80s, Allen had a run on Soap — on which she played Judge Betty Small — along with guest appearances on The Greatest American Hero, Lou Grant, Remington Steele and Hill Street Blues.
On Seinfeld, the actress played Mrs. Sokol before being cast in The Sopranos as Aunt Quintina Blundetto.
In the early 2000s, Allen landed parts on Grey’s Anatomy, Joan of Arcadia and NYPD Blue. On the big screen, she appeared in such films as Reign Over Me, Stargate, A League of Their Own and Where’s Poppa?
She is survived by her nieces Laura and Betty Cosgrove; and her adopted family, friends April Webster and Lisa Ann Gold.
Memorial services are being planned, one for each coast. Times and dates are to be announced.
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