Obituaries

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser

BroadwayWorld is saddened to report that Broadway veteran and Tony nominee (Most Happy Fella) Elizabeth Josephine "Jo" Sullivan Loesser passed away yesterday, April 28, from heart failure in her New York City Home. She was 91 years old.

Born in Mounds, Illinois, Sullivan played Polly Peachum in Marc Blitzstein's legendary English-language adaptation of The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht off-Broadway in 1954.

She married Frank Loesser on April 29, 1959. They had two children, Hannah (1962-2007) and Emily (born 1965), who is also a singer-actress. She also appeared as herself in an "original special" on Broadway, called Let's Make An Opera (1950), which boasted music by Benjamin Britten, a libretto by Eric Crozier, musical direction by Norman Del Mar, and was directed by Marc Blitzstein.

In the summer of 1951 she played Dorothy Gale in The Municipal Opera Association of St. Louis production of The Wizard of Oz, opposite Margaret Hamilton, who reprised her film role of the Wicked Witch of the West. In 1992, Jo Loesser's daughter, Emily, played the same role at The Municipal Opera Association of St. Louis, the first time in Muny history a role has been played by both mother and daughter. Sullivan later reprised her role in the 1953 production at the Kansas City Starlight Theatre.

She also appeared on numerous recordings, such as Loesser by Loesser (alongside her daughter, Emily) as well as several albums for Ben Bagley's celebrated "Revisited" series on Painted Smiles Records (most notably Kurt Weill Revisited, Leonard Bernstein Revisited, and Frank Loesser Revisited.)

Since her husband's death in 1969, she managed the Frank Loesser estate, which included guiding production of all of his musicals, including Guys and Dolls, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying and The Most Happy Fella.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride

high res photos

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Jo Sullivan Loesser attending The 2010 American Theatre Wing Gala celebrating the Centennial of Frank Loesser at Cipriani, New York City. June 7, 2010

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Jo Sullivan Loesser, Paul McCartney & Audra McDonald at The Curtain Call for Chance & Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser- an Actors Fund Benefit at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. October 26, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Paul McCartney & Abby Cadabby & Jo Sullivan Loesser at The Curtain Call for Chance & Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser- an Actors Fund Benefit at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. October 26, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Emily Loesser, Jo Sullivan Loesser, Paul McCartney & Audra McDonald at The Curtain Call for Chance & Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser- an Actors Fund Benefit at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. October 26, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Paul McCartney & Jo Sullivan Loesser at The Curtain Call for Chance & Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser- an Actors Fund Benefit at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. October 26, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Paul McCartney & Jo Sullivan Loesser at The Curtain Call for Chance & Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser- an Actors Fund Benefit at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. October 26, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Paul McCartney & Jo Sullivan Loesser at The Curtain Call for Chance & Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser- an Actors Fund Benefit at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. October 26, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Emily Loesser, Jo Sullivan Loesser, Paul McCartney, Audra McDonald & Marc Kudisch at The Curtain Call for Chance & Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser- an Actors Fund Benefit at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. October 26, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Paul McCartney & Jo Sullivan Loesser at The Curtain Call for Chance & Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser- an Actors Fund Benefit at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. October 26, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Paul McCartney & Jo Sullivan Loesser at The Curtain Call for Chance & Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser- an Actors Fund Benefit at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. October 26, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Brian Stokes Mitchell, Emily Loesser, Jo Sullivan Loesser, Paul McCartney, Audra McDonald at The Curtain Call for Chance & Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser- an Actors Fund Benefit at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. October 26, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Brian Stokes Mitchell, Emily Loesser, Jo Sullivan Loesser, Paul McCartney, Audra McDonald, Marc Kudisch, Patrick Wilson at The Curtain Call for Chance & Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser- an Actors Fund Benefit at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. October 26, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Emily Loesser, Jo Sullivan Loesser, Paul McCartney, Audra McDonald & Marc Kudisch at The Curtain Call for Chance & Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser- an Actors Fund Benefit at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. October 26, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Brian Stokes Mitchell, Emily Loesser, Jo Sullivan Loesser, Paul McCartney, Audra McDonald, Marc Kudisch, Patrick Wilson at The Curtain Call for Chance & Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser- an Actors Fund Benefit at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. October 26, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Paul McCartney & Jo Sullivan Loesser at The Curtain Call for Chance & Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser- an Actors Fund Benefit at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. October 26, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Annette Bening, John Stamos, Jo Sullivan Loesser Backstage for Chance & Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser- an Actors Fund Benefit at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. October 26, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Jo Sullivan Loesser, Annette Bening, Jonathan Tisch,Annette Bening, Kevin McCollum & Brian Stokes Mitchell Backstage for Chance & Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser- an Actors Fund Benefit at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. October 26, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Annette Bening, John Stamos, Jo Sullivan Loser Backstage for Chance & Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser- an Actors Fund Benefit at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. October 26, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
John Stamos, Jo Sullivan Loesser, Paul McCartney, Annette Bening, Nia Vardalis, Ana Gasteyer, Audra McDonald, Michele Lee, Patrick Wilson & ensemble cast Backstage for Chance & Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser- an Actors Fund Benefit at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. October 26, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
John Stamos, Jo Sullivan Loesser, Paul McCartney, Annette Bening, Nia Vardalis, Ana Gasteyer, Audra McDonald, Michele Lee, Patrick Wilson & ensemble cast Backstage for Chance & Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser- an Actors Fund Benefit at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. October 26, 2009

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Jo Sullivan Loesser.attending the Opening Night Performance After Party for 'How To Succeed In Business...' in New York City.

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Jo Sullivan Loesser & Rob Ashford.attending the Opening Night Performance After Party for 'How To Succeed In Business...' in New York City.

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Jo Sullivan Loesser & Michele Lee.attending the Opening Night Performance After Party for 'How To Succeed In Business...' in New York City.

Photo Flash: Remembering Jo Sullivan Loesser
Jo Sullivan Loesser attending The 2010 American Theatre Wing Gala celebrating the Centennial of Frank Loesser at Cipriani, New York City. June 7, 2010



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From This Author Walter McBride