Dick Latessa, Broadway Veteran and 'Hairspray' Star, Dies at 87
He won the Tony Award for best featured actor in a musical for his turn as Wilbur Turnblad in the original stage production.
Dick Latessa, a Broadway veteran best remembered for starring in the original Hairspray production, has died. He was 87.
Marc Shaiman, who wrote the music and co-wrote the lyrics for Hairspray, confirmed the news in a Facebook tribute to Latessa on Monday night. Further details on cause of death have yet to be revealed.
"Hairspray (and Broadway) has lost a huge piece of its heart. RIP to the glorious, loving and much loved Dick Latessa," Shaiman's post reads. "This was a man who defined Pro, with the timing of a Swiss watch and a voice, a smile and sweet soul that made you feel special just to know him. We were lucky to have him in our lives, he was, truly, timeless."
HAIRSPRAY (and Broadway) has lost a huge piece of its heart. RIP to the glorious, loving and much loved Dick Latessa....Posted by Marc Shaiman on Monday, December 19, 2016
Latessa made his Broadway debut in 1968's The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N and subsequently starred in multiple shows including Follies, Rags, The Cherry Orchard, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Cabaret and The Will Rogers Follies.
In 2002, Latessa played the role of Wilbur Turnblad in the original Hairspray production (based on John Waters' 1988 film) and went on to win the Tony Award for best featured actor in a musical for his performance.
The Tony Awards' official Twitter also paid tribute to Latessa, who served as a Tony Nominating Committee member.
The Broadway star, who also has been seen in television series including The Sopranos and Law & Order, most recently starred opposite Linda Lavin in the play The Lyons in 2012.