Latessa was born in Cleveland, Ohio. His mother was an automotive upholstery maker. He made his Broadway debut in The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N in 1968. Additional theatre credits include Follies, Rags, The Cherry Orchard, Damn Yankees, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Awake and Sing!, Cabaret, and Hairspray, for which he won both the Tony and Drama Desk Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.
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