John McMartin, the versatile, gentlemanly Tony Award-nominated actor who starred on Broadway in such shows as “Follies” and “Sweet Charity,” died July 6 in New York City. He was 86.
The cause was cancer, said his manager, Tony Cloer.
Mr. McMartin, who was equally at home in plays and in musicals, was nominated for five Tonys, starting in 1966 with “Sweet Charity,” the musical based on a book by Neil Simon and choreographed by Bob Fosse. Mr. McMartin played the male lead, Oscar, opposite Gwen Verdon.
He also was nominated for his performances in “Don Juan” (1973), “Showboat” (1995) and “High Society” (1998).
The silver-haired actor earned a Tony nod in the 2002 Tony-winning revival of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical “Into the Woods,” playing the narrator opposite Vanessa Williams as the witch.
Mr. McMartin was born in Warsaw, Ind.
In 1971 he originated the role of Benjamin Stone in Sondheim’s “Follies.” He also was in the Cole Porter musical “Happy New Year” in 1980.
In 1994, Mr. McMartin starred as Cap’n Andy in a revival of “Show Boat,” a classic Broadway musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, reinterpreted by director Harold Prince. The cast included Elaine Stritch as Parthy, Mark Jacoby as Gaylord Ravenal and Rebecca Luker as Magnolia.
Mr. McMartin remained active into his 80s, last starring on Broadway as Sen. Richard Russell in “All the Way,” the play about Lyndon Johnson featuring Bryan Cranston in 2014. Other recent Broadway credits included the 2011 revival of “Anything Goes,” “A Free Man of Color” in 2010 and “Grey Gardens” in 2006.
Mr. McMartin also had many TV and film roles. He played a newspaper editor in the 1976 Watergate drama “All the President’s Men” and had guest parts on such shows as “Murder, She Wrote,” “Oz,” “Touched by an Angel” and, most recently, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”
A complete list of survivors was not immediately available.
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