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She Died while Filming “Matrix Reloaded”: 6 Facts about Gloria Foster



by Kristina Byas 

Actress Gloria Foster was best known for her many Broadway and film roles in plays and movies such as “In White America”, “Having Our Say”.

Foster shared the screen with some of Hollywood’s biggest names like Bill Cosby in the  1972 film “Man and Boy” and opposite Sidney Poitier in the TV-movie “Separate But Equal”. Her most successful box office role didn’t come until the final years of her career.

From being separated from her mother at a young age to divorcing her husband, there was more to Foster than her on screen and stage talent. Every celebrity has a story and so does Gloria Foster. Here are six facts about Gloria Foster.

  1. Foster was raised by her grandparents.

Since Foster never knew who her father was and her mother was hospitalized for mental illness, she was sent to live her grandparents in Janesville, Wisconsin.

  1. Raisin in the Sun was the first Broadway show in which she appeared.

After moving to New York, Foster landed her first Broadway role, which was Ruth in A Raisin in the Sun.

  1. The Matrix Reloaded was Foster’s last film.

She played the grandmotherly  Oracle in both “The Matrix” and “Matrix Reloaded”. Unfortunately, she passed away from diabetes related complications while shooting the sequel in 2001. Her role of the Oracle was played by actress Mary Alice  in the final film–“Matrix Revolutions” in 2003. Writers came up with an in-universe story line that the character had to go into hiding and change her appearance as a way to help audiences accept Foster’s replacement.

  1. Cicely Tyson were good friends.

Both women were members of  the same sorority–Delta Sigma Theta. Even though they didn’t see each other much, they kept in touch through the years. Tyson was said to be one of Foster’s few close friends.

  1. Foster’s first feature film debuted in 1964.

The Cool World in which she played Mrs. Custis was her first appearance in a full-length feature film. It’s also were she met her future husband actor Clarence Williams III who co-starred in the movie.

  1. Never Chased Fame.

Critics said Foster was “an African-American actress around whom producers and directors built production”.  Foster said, “Young people today, I think, are thinking in terms of stepping stones.…I don’t know that I ever thought that way. It sounds ridiculous, but I was always thinking in terms of a more difficult role.”


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