BILOXI -- Molly Cox spent most of her life making people smile.
A talented actress and dancer, Cox performed in numerous theater productions along the Mississippi Coast, primarily at Biloxi Little Theatre and Center Stage Theatre.
Born Mary Frances Pisarich Cox, the lifelong Biloxi resident died unexpectedly on Saturday. She was 64.
Cox studied ballet in Russia and for many years was dance instructor at her own studio in Biloxi. In 2008, she received Biloxi Little Theatre's Bravo Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance as Blanche DuBois in "A Streetcar Named Desire."
"She has graced many theaters across the Coast," her friend and colleague Tonya Hays said.
Cox worked just as hard off-stage as she did on-stage, choreographing musicals, volunteering her time with children and training the next generation of performers as a performing arts teacher at Lynn Meadow's Discovery Center for Children.
"She choreographed many children's shows," Hays said. "She often got on stage to dance with them to make them comfortable. She was just a beautiful, beautiful person."
Hays recalled one of Cox's best performances as the Cat in "Peter and the Wolf." The musical became one of the most popular children's pieces to ever show at the Saenger Theatre in Biloxi, she said.
"She was a beautiful dancer and just brought such grace to that role," Hays said.
Aside from her talent in theater, Cox was most of all known for her outgoing and cheerful personality.
"She walked in a room, and the room lit up," Hays said. "She would brighten your day. You could be having the worst day, and Molly was your sunshine."
Cox's positive and energetic presence will be greatly missed, Hays said.
"Just walking in the museum and seeing her smile and her always positive, upbeat greeting," Hays said. "She was such a warmth and welcoming force here at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center. She will be missed."
Funeral services are 1 p.m. Wednesday at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church. Family and friends may visit from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. The Howard Avenue Chapel of Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.