Tony-winning actress Rae Allen died peacefully in her sleep early Wednesday at the age of 95, according to Deadline, in news that broke just days after fellow Sopranos star Paul Hermann passed on March, 29.
Allen was known for her roles in Damn Yankees, A League of Their Own and The Sopranos and was described by those who knew her as “a force of nature” who had a career that matched it.
Born Rae Julia Theresa Abruzzo in Brooklyn, NY she began her career in Broadway in theater productions. She graduated 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.
The award winning actress also played he role of Mrs. Sokol on Seinfeld sometime before being cast as Aunt Quintina Blundetto in The Sopranos, and her career didn’t stop there.
She played parts in Grey’s Anatomy, Joan of Arcadia and NYPD Blue and on the big screen she was in films as Reign Over Me, Stargate, A League of Their Own and Where’s Poppa?
Deadline reports that, “She is survived by her nieces Laura and Betty Cosgrove; and her adopted family, friends April Webster and Lisa Ann Gold.”