Rae Allen, Damn Yankees and Sopranos Actress, Dies at 95

Rae Allen, a Tony winner who originated the role of Gloria in “Damn Yankees” on Broadway in 1955 and reprised the role in the 1958 film, had died at 95.

Her talent manager, Kyle Fritz, told that she died in her sleep of natural causes on Wednesday morning.

Allen was born Rae Julia Theresa Abruzzo in Brooklyn, New York, in 1926. She graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1947 and began landing parts on Broadway.

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Allen received her first Tony nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play for 1955’s “Damn Yankees,” in which she sings “Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, Mo,” a song she also performs in the film.

She was nominated for another Tony for “Traveler Without Luggage” in 1967, and won for Best Featured Actress in a Play for “And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little” in 1971.

Allen’s many TV roles include Edith Bunker’s cousin Amelia on “All in the Family,” Judge Betty Small on “Soap,” Mrs Sokol on “Seinfeld,” and Livia Soprano’s sister Quintina Blundetto on “The Sopranos.”

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She also appeared in a memorable 2006 episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” where she and another woman (played by Betty Garrett) sit by their dying friend’s bedside.

Memorial services are being planned on both coasts, according to Fritz.

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