Hairspray Tony Winner Dick Latessa Dies at 87

first_imgDick Latessa(Photo: Jenny Anderson) Dick Latessa, who won a Tony Award in 2003 for his performance in Hairspray, has died at the age of 87. Hairspray composer and co-lyricist Marc Shaiman shared the news on Facebook, writing “Hairspray (and Broadway) has lost a huge piece of its heart. We were lucky to have him in our lives, he was, truly, timeless.” Born Richard Robert Latessa on September 15, 1929 in Cleveland, Ohio, Latessa was the sixth of seven children to parents Antoinette and Dan. After serving in the army in 1951 and 1952, he began performing in Cleveland before moving to New York in 1959 to pursue acting professionally.Latessa made his Broadway debut at the age of 38 in The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N. He went on to appear in the original productions of Follies, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Broadway Bound and The Will Rogers Follies. He also had starring and featured roles in the revivals of Damn Yankees, A Funny Things Happened on the Way to the Forum, Cabaret and Promises, Promises.He garnered his first Tony nomination and win in 2003, for his performance as Wilbur Turnblad in Hairspray. “Being up here is wonderful,” he said In his acceptance speech, “but the trip here was the best of all.” Latessa went on to reprise his performance in the Las Vegas production in 2006. He last appeared on Broadway opposite Linda Lavin in 2012’s The Lyons.Harvey Fierstein, who won a Tony the same night as Latessa for playing his wife Edna Turnblad, in Hairspray, shared the following statement on Twitter. View Commentscenter_img We lost the 1 & only Dick Latessa & my heart is broken. Still, for 1,000 performances I had the best partner ever.— Harvey Fierstein (@HarveyFierstein) December 20, 2016last_img read more