Broadway star Dick Latessa dies at 87

Broadway veteran Dick Latessa has passed away at the age of 87.

Latessa died on Monday, according to composer and lyricist Marc Shaiman, who broke the news on Facebook, reports

“‘Hairspray’ (and Broadway) has lost a huge piece of its heart. RIP to the glorious, loving and much loved Dick Latessa. We were lucky to have him in our lives, he was, truly, timeless,” Shaiman wrote.

Latessa is best known for originating the role of Walter Turnblad on Broadway for which he won a Tony Award in 2003.

His original “Hairspray” co-star Harvey Fierstein took to Twitter to pay tribute, sharing a YouTube video of himself and Latessa performing together.

“My heart is broke. Still, for 1,000 performances I had the best partner ever,” he wrote.

According to, Latessa was born on September 15, 1929 in Cleveland, Ohio.

He was the sixth of seven children to parents and embarked upon a career as a musical actor after completing military service in the US Army from 1951 to 1952. He began in his native Cleveland before moving to New York in 1959.

He last appeared on Broadway in 2012 opposite Linda Lavin in “The Lyons”.


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