‘Sopranos’ and ‘Damn Yankees’ actress, Rae Allen, dead at 95

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Tony-winning character actress Rae Allen, who appeared in “The Sopranos,” “A League Of Their Own” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” died Tuesday in her sleep of natural causes. She was 95.

Allen’s talent manager Kyle Fritz confirmed the news of her passing in a statement to People.

Born in 1926 in Brooklyn, NY as Raffaella Julia Theresa Abruzzo, Allen got her start on Broadway after graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1947.

The thespian earned her first of three Tony nominations for Best Featured Actress for playing nosy reporter Gloria Thorpe in the 1955 stage musical “Damn Yankees,” a role she would reprise in the 1958 movie of the same name.

The veteran performer received a second nod in the same award category for “Traveler Without Luggage” in 1967, and finally took home the coveted statuette in 1971 for “And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little.”

June Lockhart, Betty Garrett and Rae Allen in the 2006 “Grey’s Anatomy” episode “Break On Through.”
©ABC/Courtesy Everett Collectio
Peter Strauss and Rae Allen in "A Cry of Players."
Peter Strauss and Rae Allen in “A Cry of Players.”
Courtesy Everett Collection

Perhaps best known for TV roles, Allen appeared in a slew of iconic series from the 1960s, including “The Untouchables,” “Car 54,” “Where Are You?” and “All In the Family,” on which she portrayed Edith Bunker’s cousin Amelia DeKuyper.

The Brooklynite continued to have success on the small screen into the 80s, 90s and 2000s with roles in “Soap,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “NYPD Blue,” “Reign Over Me” and “Seinfeld.” On the latter, Allen played Mrs. Sokol in Seinfeld’s 1992 episode “The Boyfriend.” She also appeared in “The Sopranos” as Quintina Blundetto, the aunt of Tony Soprano’s cousin Tony Blundetto (Steve Buscemi).

Allen (far left) in the "Fearing Mind."
Allen (far left) in the “Fearing Mind.”
©HensonAssociates/Courtesy Ever

Her last credited TV appearances were in two episodes of “Vampire Mob” in 2011.

Not just a TV player, the prolific actress boasted a variety of memorable film credits. These included parts in “Reign Over Me,” “Stargate,” Where’s Poppa” and “A League of Their Own,” in which she played Ma Keller.

Allen is survived by her nieces Laura and Betty Cosgrove.

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