William Warfield, the baritone who played Porgy in the Gershwin opera, Porgy and Bess in the 1950s and toured the world as a soloist, died Aug. 25 in Chicago, according to The New York Times.
The cause of death was complications from a broken neck he suffered in a fall in July, according to the Associated Press. Mr. Warfield was 82.
In addition to singing oratorios by Handel, Back, Mozart and Verdi with symphonies around the globe, Mr. Warfield is remembered for singing Kern and Hammerstein's "Ol' Man River" in the 1951 M-G-M movie, "Show Boat." The song would remain part of his repertoire for decades.
He played the disabled but yearning Porgy in the operatic musical, Porgy and Bess, throughout the world, from Chicago to New York, from Vienna to London to Berlin, to say nothing of Pittsburgh and Dallas.
A recording of Mr. Warfield and his former wife, Leontyne Price, singing selections of Porgy and Bess, was released in the 1960s. Mr. Warfield was born in West Helena, Arkansas, and studied at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, and with many instructors. During World War II he served in the US Army. Following the war, he performed in the revue, Call Me Mister, on tour, and made his New York debut in Set My People Free (1948) and played Cal, the Butler, in Regina, the musicalization of The Little Foxes, in 1949.
A concert at New York's Town Hall on 1950 earned him rave reviews and launched his career. The Times reported he was scheduled to sing at Carnegie Hall in March 2003.
Mr. Warfield is survived by two brothers.