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In Memoriam: Alaina Reed Hall

18 December 2009 71 Comments

Information is still developing, but Alaina Reed Hall passed away on December 17 at the age of sixty-three. The cause of her death has not yet been officially reported but the actress, best known for her roles as Rose Holloway on 227 and Olivia on Sesame Street, has been very public about her ongoing battle with breast cancer. She participated in the documentary “Breast Cancer Examined: An African-American Perspective,” to commemorate 2009 National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and share her courageous approach to fighting the disease.

alainareed

Born Bernice Ruth Reed in Ohio, Alaina Reed began her career in early 70s theater, appearing in Broadway and Off-Broadway productions such as Chicago, Hair, and Eubie. In 1976 she landed the role of Sesame Street‘s Olivia. From then until 1988 Reed presented children with one of the earliest depictions of positive black womanhood, demonstrated the warmth of adult sibling relationships with her brother Gordon, and straight up taught us letters and how to count. In 1985 Reed joined the original cast of 227 as Rose Lee, one of my favorite black sitcom characters ever. Rose was sassy but sensitive, responsible but mischievous, and always good for showcasing Reed’s excellent singing voice through some wacky plot device like a church choir solo or random sing-off that would somehow keep everyone in the building from being evicted.

Kevin Peter Hall (the 7’2″ actor who portrayed Harry in Harry and The Hendersons and Predator in the movies of the same name) guest starred as Rose’s love interest on 227 and in 1988 the two began a real-life relationship, marrying both on the show and in real life. Sadly, he passed away in 1991 from complications of AIDS contracted through a blood transfusion. 227 was canceled that same year but the now Alaina Reed Hall continued to act until her death, steadily appearing on sitcoms such as A Different World, Friends, Ally McBeal, and making the best of a recurring role on the short-lived series Cleghorne. She also returned to her theater roots with a one-woman show, “Alaina at the Bijou.”

The clip I’ve chosen is a great snapshot of Rose Holloway from 227 – it’s got a little neck-wagging but also the requisite girlfriend hug at the end. We lost a true legend!

71 Comments »

  • chrisyeh (chrisyeh) « In Memoriam: Alaina Reed Hall | What Would Thembi Do? « Chat Catcher said:

    […] 2009-12-20T19:55:54  RT @jckiedncki: RIP Alaina Reed Hall, Olivia from Sesame Street. [link to post] […]

  • Muppet Sightings (muppetsightings) « In Memoriam: Alaina Reed Hall | What Would Thembi Do? « Chat Catcher said:

    […] 2009-12-20T20:34:20  RT @chrisyeh: RT @jckiedncki: RIP Alaina Reed Hall, Olivia from Sesame Street. [link to post] […]

  • crystaljordan (crystaljordan) « In Memoriam: Alaina Reed Hall | What Would Thembi Do? « Chat Catcher said:

    […] RT @LeighEllwood: Didn't realize this til now, former Sesame Street actress died – [link to post]- […]

  • LeighEllwood (LeighEllwood) « In Memoriam: Alaina Reed Hall | What Would Thembi Do? « Chat Catcher said:

    […] 2009-12-20T21:33:17  Didn't realize this til now, former Sesame Street actress died – [link to post] […]

  • don said:

    Quiet your soul. God has you now.

  • John said:

    I had the pleasure of working with Alaina in the early 90’s. She was so talented and so much fun. I’ll always cherish those years of friendship. Although we lived on opposite coasts and didn’t see each other very much for the last 15 years, I’ll always remember her as a lovely person who was a great singer as well. She contributed to the entertainment world in every medium. No one has mentioned her contributions to cabaret in NY. In the early 70’s she was a cabaret “diva”! She will be greatly missed. RIP Alaina.

  • KimberlyP (KimberlyP) « In Memoriam: Alaina Reed Hall | What Would Thembi Do? « Chat Catcher said:

    […] 2009-12-21T09:11:14  Oh sadness. Alaina Reed Hall (Olivia from Sesame Street) died a few days ago. [link to post] […]

  • Mr. LeToyaOnline (sirced) « In Memoriam: Alaina Reed Hall | What Would Thembi Do? « Chat Catcher said:

    […] 2009-12-21T11:36:34  OH NAH! it's not officially confirmed but word is alaina reed hall (rose from 227) died due to breast cancer :( [link to post] […]

  • laurenjulie (laurenjulie) « In Memoriam: Alaina Reed Hall | What Would Thembi Do? « Chat Catcher said:

    […] 2009-12-21T11:36:34  RIP OLIVIA… RT @thembithembi: In Memoriam: Alaina Reed Hall – [link to post] […]

  • Jake (N0N_3NT1TY) « In Memoriam: Alaina Reed Hall | What Would Thembi Do? « Chat Catcher said:

    […] 2009-12-21T11:37:12  @demonbaby If it makes you feel any better 2009 claimed a Sesame Street actress recently too… [link to post] […]

  • Thembi (thembithembi) « In Memoriam: Alaina Reed Hall | What Would Thembi Do? « Chat Catcher said:

    […] 2009-12-21T11:37:12  Tweeps, I already wrote Alaina Reed Hall a tribute so thanks for the info but I already know she passed! [link to post] […]

  • jalylah (sherealcool) « In Memoriam: Alaina Reed Hall | What Would Thembi Do? « Chat Catcher said:

    […] 2009-12-21T11:37:12  RT @thembithembi: Tweeps, I already wrote Alaina Reed Hall a tribute… [link to post] […]

  • kathleen adele (kathleenadele) « In Memoriam: Alaina Reed Hall | What Would Thembi Do? « Chat Catcher said:

    […] 2009-12-21T11:37:12  RT @sherealcool: RT @thembithembi: Tweeps, I already wrote Alaina Reed Hall a tribute… [link to post] […]

  • Valerie (bebe300zx) « In Memoriam: Alaina Reed Hall | What Would Thembi Do? « Chat Catcher said:

    […] 2009-12-21T11:37:12  I am amazed the only article I can find a Headlind bout #Alaina Reed Hall's death is "The Black Archives. [link to post] […]

  • Justin said:

    I am so saddened. I can’t tell you how much a part of my childhood and even early adulthood 227 played! And a big part of that was the sheer joy, vigor, life, and soul that Alaina brought to the show! She always had so much personality, not to mention a wonderfully soulful voice! My deepest sympathies are with her family and friends.

    I put together a few pics of Alaina, set to her song “Don’t Let Me Fall in Love Alone” here:

    Alaina Reed Hall Don’t Let Me Fall in Love Alone

  • Patrick Tubridy said:

    So sad to hear of Ms. Reed’s passing. The world lost one of the greatest smiles this past week! I grew up watching Olivia on Sesame Street and then Rose on 227, and when I would see her on commercials or other shows, it would warm my heart!

    I tend to disagree with some of the readers out there. The entertainment world is highly competitive so it is difficult to measure success. Undeniably, Ms. Reed was more than successful, even if in supporting roles. Some of the most important lessons I learned in childhood came from “Olivia”. Thank you Ms. Reed, you will be forever remembered in my heart! -Paddy Tubz

  • DaveS said:

    So very saddened to hear about this. I will always remember her from Sesame Street. The world has lost a beautiful person and voice.

  • Bert C said:

    Alaina will be truly missed. I met her when I was in HAIR and lived just a few blocks away on the Upper West Side. We stayed in touch and our friendship lasted. I moved to Los Angeles in late Sept.88 and one of the first people I had dinner with was Alaina, and Bob Garrett(Godspell) I got to know her second husband when I visited the set of 227. Even, when I moved back to St.Louis, we stayed in touch, until a couple of years ago. She was the best cook(got me to eat greens)and had some great parties in the 70’s.
    Alaina and Richie loved to take home movies of people as they left their 106th Street apartment. Then would show those movies at the next party and people could see how funny they were “toreup” Very Funny.
    A great light has gone out on the Enterrainment World. Love and miss you Tiny(Mom)

  • Andrea said:

    Just saw of her passing today, so sad to lose such a wonderful, beautiful person. Feel as though I grew up watching her, from Sesame Street to 227. Always portraying a strong elegant woman my condolences to her family and friends, thank you for sharing her with us!

  • Stacey_Virtuous said:

    Her passing went under the radar and happy someone recognized/honored her! Thank you!!

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