Reno Roop, Veteran of the Broadway Stage, Dies at 80

Courtesy Jane Ayer Public Relations
Reno Roop

A native of Estonia, he appeared in a revival of 'The Sound of Music' and in 'Judgment at Nuremburg.'

Reno Roop, the veteran stage actor who appeared on Broadway opposite Rex Harrison, Ellen Burstyn and Richard Chamberlain, has died. He was 80.

Roop died Friday at his home in New York after a battle with Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, his family announced.

Roop made his Broadway debut opposite Harrison as the councilor Berthold in 1973's The Emperor Henry IV and appeared with Burstyn in Sacrilege (1995). Later, he was in 1998 and '99 revivals of The Sound of Music (the latter with Chamberlain) and in an original production of Judgment at Nuremburg with Maximilian Schell in 2001.

His stage work also included portraying Deborah Kerr's husband in Souvenir (1975), playing Tolstoy's son in Sonya (1996) — toplined by his good friend Julie Harris — and starring in a national tour of Neil Simon's Rumors with Peter Marshall. 

On television, Roop stood out as James Madison in the 2000 telefilm Sally Hemings: An American Love Story and appeared in the 1976 miniseries The Adams Chronicles.

Born on Dec. 19, 1937, in Narva, Estonia, Roop survived a grueling childhood in his war-torn homeland and in a displaced person's camp in Germany. 

He arrived in the U.S. at age 15, taught himself to speak English with no trace of accent and graduated from the Goodman Theatre School in Chicago. He then served in the U.S. Army as an immigrant, leaving the service as a U.S. citizen. 

Survivors include his wife, psychotherapist and former actress Marjorie Murray Roop; his sisters, Marika and Inna; and his brother, Jim.

A private celebration of his life will be held in New York. Donations may be made to The Actors Fund and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.