Printer Friendly - RIP Russ Thacker


RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by newintown 2012-12-10 10:55:28


Russ (sometimes Rusty) Thacker has passed away.

Star of the wildly successful, now forgotten, Your Own Thing, and victim of too many Broadway flops (The Grass Harp, Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?, Me Jack, You Jill, Home, Sweet Homer Heathen!), he was a wonderful actor, singer, and raconteur.

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by CurtainPullDowner 2012-12-10 11:03:29


Bye Rusty, I'll miss you.

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by WithoutATrace 2012-12-10 11:25:03


Sad news. Now the entire cast of ME JACK, YOU JILL is deceased. RIP, Russ!

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by egghumor 2012-12-10 11:27:28


I can't find any published obituaries on the internet at this point. How did you find out?

He's terrific on the cast recording of THE GRASS HARP.

RIP Russ.

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by newintown 2012-12-10 11:31:23


You had to know that his real name was Aubrey - see the link above.

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by After Eight 2012-12-10 11:33:36


So sorry to hear this.

He was wonderful in those shows. So full of life and joy.

May he rest in peace.

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by perpetualanticipatio 2012-12-10 11:51:25


a wonderful singer and a very nice guy. rip.

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by egghumor 2012-12-10 11:57:21


Thanks, newintown.

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by goldenboy 2012-12-10 15:33:50


Rusty was a sweet and talented man. I miss him already. Hope you are enjoying Dropsy Cure Weather in Theatre Heaven.

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by After Eight 2012-12-10 18:11:59


I just replayed his songs fromThe Grass Harp. The way he sings "and cherry wine for sure" in his distinctive style in Dropsy Cure Weather encapsulates what was so special about him.

He also shines in my favorite song in the show, This One Day.

He conveyed a sense of wonderment that is captivating and rare.

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by GavestonPS 2012-12-10 18:52:12


Russ' rendition of "Meadowlark" remains my favorite. As far as I know, he only sang it in cabarets and never recorded it. A shame.

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by hushpuppy 2012-12-10 19:56:06


So sorry to hear about his passing. Russ Thacker was my first theater-crush. I saw him in THE ODYSSEY (aka HOME SWEET HOMER) at the Curran Theater in San Francisco and was smitten. I bought the OCR of THE GRASS HARP just because he was in it and still enjoy listening to it often.

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by GavestonPS 2012-12-10 21:02:53


I think your crush was well-spent, hushpuppy. Off-stage and and on, Russ had a boyish energy that was very attractive. I worked with him on some of his cabaret evenings and he could not have been nicer (or smarter) to work with!

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by egghumor 2012-12-11 13:31:48


I can't stop thinking about Russ Thacker since learning of his passing yesterday. Like most, I was not fortunate enough to see him on stage, but I have certainly enjoyed listening to him for decades on the cast recordings of YOUR OWN THING and THE GRASS HARP. Just from photos alone, it's clear that he was abundantly charming. I'm heartened to read the number of admirable tributes he's received from people who knew him in this thread. What does anyone know about his life after he left New York? From what I can find, it seems his last appearance in New York was in a small production of LITTLE ME at the York Theatre in 1992.

He had such an interesting, but obviously problematic career (in terms of shows). I wish there could be a musical theater scholarship developed and awarded in his name. His contribution to musical theater should not be forgotten.

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by doodlenyc 2012-12-11 14:28:43


I love him on the Your Own Thing recording also.

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by GavestonPS 2012-12-11 19:41:12


egghumor, despite never having that one, iconic Broadway hit that would have made him a household name, Russ seemed to me to be constantly working. He did several long-running tours in addition to the one of PATENT LEATHER SHOES mentioned at the link. HOME SWEET HOMER actually toured for well over a year before coming to face the critics on Broadway (I suppose it was "iconic", if not in the good way).

In the early 1980s, Russ was excellent in a Noel Coward review, OH, COWARD!, that had a good run off-Broadway and then toured with the R&H review, SOME ENCHANTED EVENING. He was a regular in star-package stock; it seemed he played "Pippin" everywhere but Manhattan. He did a lot of clubs, as well, and special appearances in New York City.

Eventually, he retired to the Wilton Manors area of Fort Lauderdale with his partner.

If the above seems brief and vague, it's because I had less contact with Russ after I moved to the West Coast (Russ minced no words about his dislike of Los Angeles!) and I don't have his resume in front of me. Also, I'm told his partner hasn't decided whether to do a formal obituary and that really should be his prerogative.

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by egghumor 2012-12-11 19:54:03


Thanks for the additional information, Gaveston. Yes, Mr. Thacker seems born to play Pippin. In an entertainment world filled with special performers, Russ Thacker seemed to belong in an upper-tier of class acts.

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by egghumor 2012-12-11 20:36:27


Russ Thacker with Georgia Engel in TIP TOES
Goodspeed Opera House, 1978

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by GavestonPS 2012-12-11 21:10:42


egghumor, I should add the voice one hears on the cast albums from the 1960s only got richer through the next two decades.

And though Russ' career may seem less than his talent deserved, I for one never heard him say so. He could be scornful of critics (as in the link above) and anyone he thought foolish, but I don't believe self-pity was in his repertoire.

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by Dollypop 2012-12-11 21:19:52


Very sad news. May he rest in peace.

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by danby 2012-12-11 21:30:53


I was PSM for the National Tour of PATENT LEATHER SHOES ['84-'87] and was fortunate enough to hear him sing every night. Lucky me. Bill Collins [the critic at the Phila Inquirer in '84] wrote Russ Thacker "has the voice of a lark." Indeed he did!
Frank Anzalone
Finchy@aol.com

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by GavestonPS 2012-12-11 22:45:37


^^^^What a treat! I know I never got tired of hearing Russ sing.

Did Maureen Moore also do the tour? She's another long-ago friend and one of my on-stage favorites!

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by danby 2012-12-11 22:54:04


Maureen did Broadway in 1981. Christine Gradl did Philly in 1984. The late great Eileen Blackman on the original cast recording did Becky with Russ from 85-87.

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by GavestonPS 2012-12-12 19:04:27


Thanks, Danby. I saw Mo on Broadway, which is how I knew she had done the show. I'm glad to see on IBDB that she is still working.

RIP Russ Thacker
Posted by MisterBillNYC 2013-02-18 17:11:51


Sorry to hear of Rusty's passing. I was stage manager for another Broadway show he starred in: "DEAR OSCAR" in which Rusty played Lord Alfred Douglas. Anybody remember it? He really shown in one of his big numbers, "Let's Have a Party!" I wish I had a recording of it. He was really a nice, talented guy.