Rae Allen, born Raffaella Julia Theresa Abruzz, has sadly passed away. The popular stage and screen actress passed away peacefully in her sleep on Wednesday morning at the age of 95. She joins Paul Herman, who passed away last week, as both had time appearing on The Sopranos. Allen played the ever-popular character of Aunt Quintina Blundetto, mother of Animal Blundetto played expertly by Steve Buscemi. But back before she was a mafioso, she was a Tony-winning actress who tore the stage up in the 1950, 1960s, and 1970s. The actress is survived by her nieces Laura and Betty Cosgrove, her adopted family, and friends April Webster and Lisa Ann Gold.
Before Rae Allen made her way into TV and film, she was a phenom on Broadway. She was nominated for a Tony award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her potrayal of a nosy neighbor by the name of Gloria in Damn Yankees in 1955. She was nominated again in 1967 for Traveler Without Luggage, and finally won the Tony for Best Featured Acress in And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little in 1971. Her time in Damn Yankees would spill over into films, as she potrayed the same character in a 1958 made film of the same name. The song that she performs in the the film, “Shoeless Joe from Hannibal Mo” is still performed during games at Yankees Stadium to this day. Her foray into television began more frequently in the 1960s as she appeared in series like The Untouchables, Car 54, Where are You?, and The Patty Duke Show. She held an important role in All My Family, which led to more appearances in Soap, Lou Grant, Remington Steele, and Hill Street Blues. During the 1990s she appeared as Mrs. Sokol in the hit sitcom, Seinfeld. She also had recurring role in the above-mentioned The Sopranos series.
Her time in more contemporary films started in the 2000s, where she appeared in Stargate, A League of Their Own, and Where’s Poppa? One of my favorite roles that matches up with the nosy neighbor trope she played in the 1950s is that of Adell Modell in the film Reign Over Me. She is the overprotective landlord of Adam Sandler’s character, Charlie Fineman. She continually hounds people, especially Don Cheadle’s character, Alan Johnson, when he claims to be friends with Charlie. No matter the role that she portrayed, Rae Allen was always a dynamic character that seem to steal the scene away from even the biggest actors. She outshone both Sandler and Cheadle in the scene just described. She was described as a “force of nature” in the acting game. She most certainly was.
While Rae Allen quit acting in the 2010s, with her least appearance being that of a TV series called Vampire Mob, she has a career that spanned multiple decades. Her accolades speak for themselves. She went from being a star on Broadway to tearing her way through television and film. She played Aunt Blundetto perfectly. Rest in Peace, Rae Allen.