Shawn Elliott, an actor and singer with numerous credits in theatre, film and television for nearly 60 years, and who was married to noted musical actress Donna Murphy, passed away on March 11 at his home in New York City. He was 79.
A member of the original cast of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, and Broadway's City of Angels, and Marie Christine, Elliott also had diverse Off Broadway and regional credits, including Cyrano De Bergerac, Senor Discretion Himself, Teresa's Ecstasy, Hamlet, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and Man of La Mancha.
Films include: the award-winning 13 Conversations about One Thing, Double Take, Short Eyes, Crossover Dreams, Impulse, Do The Right Thing, Arbitrage, and Broken City. On TV, Elliott had recurring roles on NBC's Law & Order, and Lifetime's The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, appeared in the 1990s PBS teen hit Ghostwriter, the HBO film Someone Had to Be Benny and many shows including Miami Vice, CSI: Miami and American Family.
A lifetime member of The Actors Studio, Elliott received a 1998 ALMA Award for Outstanding Latino Cast for PBS’ Foto-Novelas. In 2000, he was honored with the Rita Moreno Award for Excellence by the Hispanic Organization of Latin Artists (HOLA).
Born Eliezer Santiago Solis in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Elliott grew up in East Harlem where he first started singing in a community center production of Oklahoma! After changing his name, he went on to become an international nightclub performer and recording artist, touring with R&B star Lloyd Price.
Before his career shifted to acting, Elliott recorded for such labels as Roulette Records, Atlantic Records and Decca/London, and had a #1 hit in Europe and South America with his 1965 cover of the Sir Lancelot song “Shame and Scandal in the Family.” He attended Columbia University and the Berklee School of Music.
His survivors include his wife of 26 years, actress Donna Murphy, brother Roland Elliott, three daughters Ivy Kaller, Justine McLaughlin, and Darmia Hope Murphy Elliott, and his grandchildren Christopher Kaller, Susan McLaughlin, Kaitlyn McLaughlin, Ava McLaughlin, and Lily McLaughlin, and great-granddaughter Cadence Kaller.
A private memorial will be held on Saturday March 19. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the American Cancer Society or The Actors Fund of America.