Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa

As BroadwayWorld sadly reported earlier this week, Tony Award Winner Dick Latessa, who is fondly remembered for his timeless Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning performance as Wilbur Turnblad in the original Broadway production of Hairspray, has passed away.

A native of Cleveland, Dick Latessa had been active on and off Broadway for over forty years in both musicals and stage plays. He made his Broadway debut in the role of Giovanni Pastora in the 1968 musical, The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N.

Latessa divided his time between stage and small screen. In 1970, he originated the role of Major-Domo in Stephen Sondheim's Follies and then appeared in a string of Neil Simon stage plays before performing in his next musical, the ill-fated Strouse and Schwartz vehicle, Rags, which ran for only four performances before closing in 1986.

In 1991, he originated the role of Clem Rogers in The Will Rogers Follies, with music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green.

Dick Latessa later appeared in a number of musical revivals on Broadway, including Damn Yankees (1994), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1996), and was a replacement for Herr Schultz in the 1998 Roundabout revival of Cabaret.

Latessa also appeared off Broadway, in the New York City Center "Encore!" revival production of Music in the Air, by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II. He also played Dr. Dreyfuss in the revival of Promises, Promises with Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes in 2010. His final Broadway production was Vineyard's transfer of The Lyonsin 2012.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride

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Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Harvey Fierstein, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Dick Latessa, Matthew Morrison and the Cast ( Curtin Call ) HAIRSPRAY The Broadway Musical Opening Night at the Neil Simon Theatre Party at Roseland New York City, August 15,2002

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Harvey Fierstein, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Dick Latessa, Matthew Morrison and the Cast ( Curtin Call ) HAIRSPRAY The Broadway Musical Opening Night at the Neil Simon Theatre Party at Roseland New York City, August 15,2002

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Marissa Jaret Winokur and Dick Latessa ( Curtin Call ) HAIRSPRAY The Broadway Musical Opening Night at the Neil Simon Theatre Party at Roseland New York City, August 15,2002

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa, Harvey Fierstein, Marissa Jaret Winokur AND John Waters HAIRSPRAY The Broadway Musical Opening Night at the Neil Simon Theatre Party at Roseland New York City, August 15,2002

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa & Harvey Fierstein Arriving for the Opening Night Performance of LEGALLY BLONDE - The Musical at the Palace Theatre in New York City, April 29, 2007

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Brooks Ashmanskas, Matt Cavenaugh, John Bucchino, Faith Prince, Harvey Fierstein and Dick Latessa attending HARVEY & FAMILY: A Conversation with Harvey Fierstein at the TimesCenter, New York City, April 1, 2008

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa Attending the Sixty-Ninth Annual Drama League Awards Luncheon at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City, May 9th 2003

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa Arriving for the Opening Night Performance of LEGALLY BLONDE - The Musical at the Palace Theatre in New York City. April 29, 2007

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Matt Cavenaugh and Dick Latessa attending HARVEY & FAMILY: A Conversation with Harvey Fierstein at the TimesCenter, New York City. April 1, 2008

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa attending the "South Pacific" Opening Night Performance After Party at Tavern On The Green Restaurant in New York City. April 3, 2008

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa HAIRSPRAY The Broadway Musical Opening Night at the Neil Simon Theatre Party at Roseland New York City August 15,2002

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa attending the After Party for the Opening Night Broadway performance for "PROMISES, PROMISES" at the Plaza Hotel, New York City. April 25, 2010

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa attending the final performance after party reception for the NY City Center ENCORES! production of MUSIC IN THE AIR in New York City. February 8, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa & Walter Bobbie attending the final performance after party reception for the NY City Center ENCORES! production of MUSIC IN THE AIR in New York City. February 8, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa attending the "South Pacific" Opening Night Performance After Party at Tavern On The Green Restaurant in New York City. April 3, 2008

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Rebecca Robbins & Dick Latessa attending the final performance after party reception for the NY City Center ENCORES! production of MUSIC IN THE AIR in New York City. February 8, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Brooks Ashmanskas, Dick Latessa, Katie Finneran taking a bow on the Opening Night Broadway performance Curtain Call for "PROMISES, PROMISES" at the Broadway Theatre, New York City. April 25, 2010

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa, Tony Goldwyn, Katie Finneran, Sean Martin Hingston taking a bow on the Opening Night Broadway performance Curtain Call for "PROMISES, PROMISES" at the Broadway Theatre, New York City. April 25, 2010

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Kristin Chenoweth, Neil Simon, Dick Latessa, Burt Bacharach, Sean Hayes, Hal David, Rob Ashford, Katie Finneran.taking a bow on the Opening Night Broadway performance Curtain Call for "PROMISES, PROMISES" at the Broadway Theatre, New York City..April 25, 2010.

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Brooks Ashmanskas, Dick Latessa, Kristen Chenoweth, Sean Hayes, Tony Goldwyn, Katie Finneran taking a bow on the Opening Night Broadway performance Curtain Call for "PROMISES, PROMISES" at the Broadway Theatre, New York City. April 25, 2010

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Brooks Ashmanskas, Dick Latessa, Kristen Chenoweth, Sean Hayes, Tony Goldwyn, Katie Finneran taking a bow on the Opening Night Broadway performance Curtain Call for "PROMISES, PROMISES" at the Broadway Theatre, New York City. April 25, 2010

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa, Kristin Chenoweth, Sean Hayes, Tony Goldwyn & Katie Finneran attending the "Promises, Promises" Cd Signing and cast Q & A / Talk Back. June 24, 2010.

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa, Kristin Chenoweth, Tony Goldwyn & Katie Finneran attending the "Promises, Promises" Cd Signing and cast Q & A / Talk Back. June 24, 2010.

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa attending the "Promises, Promises" Cd Signing and cast Q & A / Talk Back. June 24, 2010.

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa performing in the Manhattan Concert Production of 'Ragtime - In Concert' at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City on 2/18/2013

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa attending the "Promises, Promises" Cd Signing and cast Q & A / Talk Back. June 24, 2010.

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa performing in the Manhattan Concert Production of 'Ragtime - In Concert' at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City on 2/18/2013

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Lea Salonga, Howard McGillin, Michael Arden, Dick Latessa, Jarrod Emick, Matt Cavenaugh & Stafford Arima with Company during the Curtain Call for the Manhattan Concert Production of 'Ragtime - In Concert' at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City on 2/18/2013

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
attending the 'Broadway Salutes' honoring those who make Broadway Great at the Timers Square Visitors Center in Times Square, New York City on 9/20/2012.

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa attending the 'Broadway Salutes' honoring those who make Broadway Great at the Timers Square Visitors Center in Times Square, New York City on 9/20/2012.

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa (The Lyons) .backstage at Broadway Barks 14 at the Booth Theatre on July 14, 2012 in New York City. Marking its 14th anniversary, Broadway Barks!, founded by Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore helps many of New York City's shelter animals find permanent homes and also inform New Yorkers about the plight of the thousands of homeless dogs and cats in the metropolitan area.

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa (The Lyons) .backstage at Broadway Barks 14 at the Booth Theatre on July 14, 2012 in New York City. Marking its 14th anniversary, Broadway Barks!, founded by Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore helps many of New York City's shelter animals find permanent homes and also inform New Yorkers about the plight of the thousands of homeless dogs and cats in the metropolitan area.

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Brenda Pressley, Michael Esper, Linda Lavin, Dick Latessa, Kate Jennings Grant & Gregory Wooddell.during the Opening Night Performance Curtain Call for Nicky Silver's 'The Lyons' at the Vineyard Theatre in New York City.

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Michael Esper, Linda Lavin, Dick Latessa & Gregory Wooddell.during the Opening Night Performance Curtain Call for Nicky Silver's 'The Lyons' at the Vineyard Theatre in New York City.

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Brenda Pressley, Michael Esper, Linda Lavin, Dick Latessa & Gregory Wooddell.during the Opening Night Performance Curtain Call for Nicky Silver's 'The Lyons' at the Vineyard Theatre in New York City.

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa.during the Opening Night Performance Curtain Call for Nicky Silver's 'The Lyons' at the Vineyard Theatre in New York City.

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa,.attending the Opening Night Performance Reception for Nicky Silver's 'The Lyons' at the Vineyard Theatre in New York City.

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa.attending the Opening Night Performance Reception for Nicky Silver's 'The Lyons' at the Vineyard Theatre in New York City.

Photo Flash: Remembering Dick Latessa
Dick Latessa.attending the Opening Night Performance Reception for Nicky Silver's 'The Lyons' at the Vineyard Theatre in New York City.

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From This Author Walter McBride

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