Broadway Actor John McMartin Dies at 86

John McMartin - Getty - H 2016
Getty Images

John McMartin - Getty - H 2016

McMartin was nominated for five Tonys, including for 1966's 'Sweet Charity' and the 2002 revival of Stephen Sondheim's 'Into the Woods.'

NEW YORK (AP) — John McMartin, the versatile, gentlemanly Tony Award-nominated actor who starred on Broadway in such shows as Follies and Sweet Charity, has died, his manager said Thursday. He was 86.

McMartin's manager, Tony Cloer, said the actor died of cancer Wednesday in New York surrounded by his family and his longtime companion, Charlotte Moore.

The silver-haired actor, who was equally at home in plays as well as musicals, was nominated for five Tonys, the first of which was for 1966's Sweet Charity and included mentions for Don Juan, Show Boat and High Society.

McMartin also earned a Tony nom for his role in the 2002 Tony-winning revival of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical Into the Woods, playing the narrator opposite Vanessa Williams as the Witch. Other recent Broadway credits include the 2011 revival of Anything Goes, A Free Man of Color in 2010 and Grey Gardens in 2006.

In 1994, McMartin starred as Cap'n Andy in a revival of Show Boat, the classic Broadway musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, reinterpreted by director Harold Prince. The cast also included Elaine Stritch as Parthy, Mark Jacoby as Gaylord Ravenal and Rebecca Luker as Magnolia. McMartin also appeared in the Cole Porter musical Happy New Year in 1980.

The Warsaw, Ind., native was most famous for originating the role of Ben Stone in Sondheim's Follies. He remained active into his 80s, last starring on Broadway as Sen. Richard Russell in All the Way, the play about Lyndon Johnson featuring Bryan Cranston in 2013.

McMartin also had many film and TV roles. He played a newspaper editor in the classic 1976 film All the President's Men and had guest parts on such shows as Murder, She Wrote; Oz; Touched by an Angel; and, most recently, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.