Bob LuPone, who earned a Tony nomination as an actor in the original series a chorus line and helped found and run the influential off-Broadway theater company MCC Theater for nearly 40 years, has passed away. He was 76.
LuPone, brother of Broadway icon Patti LuPone, died Saturday after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer, according to Matt Ross Public Relations.
“The MCC Theater community mourns the loss of our dearly loved and uniquely inspiring partner, colleague and dear friend, Bob LuPone, who lived fearlessly and with great curiosity, good humor, a boundless passion for connection and a whole lot of heart. We will miss him deeply and always,” the theater company said in a statement.
LuPone’s first professional job was in 1966, in the ensemble’s production of the Westbury Music Fair The Pajama Game with Liza Minnelli. He made his Broadway debut in the 1968 production of Noel Coward’s Sweet potato and later appeared in Minnie’s Boys, The Rothschilds and The magic show.
LuPone was initially cast as Al in a chorus line, but convinced creator and director Michael Bennett to let him play Zach after the original actor left. LuPone would earn a Tony nomination for best actor for the role.
Born in 1946 in Brooklyn, New York, LuPone graduated from The Juilliard School in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in dance.
He was teaching acting at New York University when Bernie Telsey was one of his students.
Together, in 1986, they would help form Manhattan Class Company – today known as MCC Theater.
LuPone, Telsey along with third co-artistic director Will Cantler molded MCC into a theatrical powerhouse, producing Broadway-bound works like Frozen, Reasons to be beautiful, Hand to God, Schoolgirls; of the African Mean Girls Play, The snow geese, the other place and the Pulitzer Prize-winning white.
While serving as MCC’s co-artistic director, LuPone also worked as an actor and appeared in A view from the bridge, True West and Thousand Clowns, all on Broadway. He was at the Chicago premiere of Sam Shepard’s The tooth of crime and was on TV in The Sopranos, Sex and the City, guiding light and All my childrenfor which he received a Daytime Emmy nomination.
He was also director of the MFA drama program at the New School for Drama from 2005 to 2011 and chaired the board of directors of ART/New York.
LuPone is survived by his wife, Virginia; his son, Orlando; sister, Patti; and brother, William.