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Actress/Singer Alaina Reed-Amini


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Actress/Singer Alaina Reed-Amini

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Actress/Singer Alaina Reed-Amini

LOS ANGELES, California -- Alaina Reed-Amini, a singer and actress who played Olivia Robinson on "Sesame Street" for a dozen years beginning in the mid-1970s and later played Rose Holloway on the sitcom, "227," died Thursday, December 17. Reed-Amini lost her two-year battle with breast cancer at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, said her husband, Tamim Amini. She was 63.

One of the original cast members of the 1974 off-Broadway production of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road," Reed-Amini joined "Sesame Street" in 1976 and played Olivia -- a professional photographer and sister to the character, Gordon -- until 1988. She also appeared in the specials, "Christmas Eve on Sesame Street" and "Don't Eat the Pictures" and in the movie, "Follow That Bird."

In a 2004 interview with The Springfield (Ohio) News-Sun, Reed-Amini described "Sesame Street" as "the best job I ever had." When she heard her name called out by fans while riding in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, she said, "It dawned on me. I have a big responsibility. I was in their house every day."

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Art imitated life when Alaina Reed-Hall married her real life husband, actor

Kevin Peter Hall, on the sitcom, '227.' Sharing a scene are: (L-R) Marla Gibbs,

Luther Vandross, Alaina Reed-Hall and Kevin Peter Hall.

On "227," the 1985-90 NBC sitcom, she played the apartment landlady and best friend to star Marla Gibbs' Mary Jenkins character. In the show's final season, Reed-Amini's character falls in love with Warren Merriwether, played by Kevin Peter Hall, and the two characters wed. In real life, the two actors were already married.

"It was a wonderful segment because we had [guest star] Luther Vandross, who was also a friend of Alaina's, sing; and we had the same minister who performed the actual wedding," Gibbs told The Times. Gibbs, who had attended the couple's real wedding, first met Reed-Amini when she auditioned for the TV series.

"She was very good in the role, and some episodes were written around her," said Gibbs, adding that Reed-Amini "was a wonderful singer. As a matter of fact, she and I did a nightclub act together at my club, 'Marla's Memory Lane,' while doing the series. She worked on Broadway, she did stuff in New York."

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Actress/Singer Alaina Reed-Hall sings 'One Little

Star' with Big Bird on 'Sesame Street'

"She was also a very well-known singer in New York for awhile before she did the show," Gibbs continued. "After we finished the show, she did quite a few commercials, so I was calling her the 'Commercial Queen.' She was just a wonderful friend. She will be sorely missed; she fought the good fight."

Reed-Amini was born Bernice Reed in Springfield, Ohio, on November 10, 1946. She graduated from South High in 1964. At the start of her career, Reed-Amini appeared as a Jet Magazine cover girl. She appeared in stage productions of "Hair," "Chicago" and "Eubie." Her stage credits also include the inspirational one-woman show, "Alaina at the Bijou."

She remained active as an actress in television, films, commercials, and cartoon series, appearing as a regular on the short-lived WB sitcom, "Cleghorne" and guest-starred on television shows such as "ER," "NYPD Blue," "The Drew Carey Show" and "Ally McBeal." She make appearances in "Friends," "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" and "NewsRadio."

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Actress Alaina Reed-Amini in 'I'm Through

with White Girls (The Inevitable Undoing of

Jay Brooks)'

Reed-Amini also appeared in a number of films from 1992-2007, including "Death Becomes Her," "Me and the Kid," "Cruel Intentions," "Chasing Sunsets," "Scrambled," "The Shift," "I'm Through with White Girls (The Inevitable Undoing of Jay Brooks)" and "A-Date." Reed-Amini was also featured in the documentary, "Breast Cancer Examined: An African-American Perspective."

Reed-Amini's first marriage produced two children but later ended in divorce. In December 1988, she married her second husband, the 7-foot-2 actor Kevin Peter Hall. He was best known for playing the Bigfoot character, Harry, in the film and television series, "Harry and the Hendersons" as well as the title role in "Predator."

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The many faces of Actress/Singer Alaina Reed-Amini

Following her marriage, Alaina Reed was then professionally known as Alaina Reed Hall. Sadly, she was widowed in 1991 after her husband died of pneumonia-related complications after contracting the AIDS virus that he acquired through a blood transfusion. In 2008, Reed Hall married her third husband, Tamim Amini.

Reed-Amini is survived by her husband, Tamim Amini, and two children from a previous marriage to Hall. According to her husband, no funeral or memorial services will be held, but a celebration of her life is being planned for early next year.

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