Tony Award-nominated Broadway actor John McMartin dies at 86

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

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, according to his manager. McMartin was 86.

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

McMartin, who was equally at home in plays as well as musicals, was nominated for five Tonys, starting in 1966's "Sweet Charity." The silver-haired actor also was nominated for "Don Juan," ''Showboat" and "High Society."

He was earned a Tony nod 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," a classic Broadway musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, reinterpreted by director Harold Prince. The rest of the cast included Elaine Stritch as Parthy, Mark Jacoby as Gaylord Ravenal and Rebecca Luker as Magnolia. He also was in the Cole Porter musical "Happy New Year" in 1980.

The Warsaw, Indiana, 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 TV and film roles. He played a newspaper editor in the classic 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."


Associated Press film writer Jake Coyle contributed to this report.