Mr. Higgins received his first of two Obies in 1958, when the Village Voice had just begun to hand out the awards, which honored work in the rising world of Off-Broadway. He won for his performance as John Proctor in The Crucible by Arthur Miller. The second came 22 years later, in 1980, for his work in David Mamet's Reunion. In 1978, he received a Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play for Molly.
The Brooklyn-born actor made his Broadway debut in 1946, in a Guthrie McClintic-Katharine Cornell production of Antigone. Cornell was a very mature Antigone; he was the Third Guard. In 1951, he played Benvolio in a production of Romeo and Juliet starring Olivia de Havilland. In 1955, he performed opposite Julie Harris in Jean Anouilh's Joan of Arc tale, The Lark. He was Larry Slade in a famous 1973 Circle in the Square revival of O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh starring James Earl Jones as Hickey.
Hr. Higgins was the father of disturbed teenager Alan Strang in Broadway's original Equus. His final Broadway appearance was in Mixed Couples in 1980, again with Julie Harris.
His first appearances on the small screen date to the early days of live television, and "Studio One" and "Kraft Television Theatre." He performed on the series "Ben Casey," "Gunsmoke," "The Defenders" and "The Andy Griffith Show." Films include "The Conversation,""The Stepford Wives," "The Seduction of Joe Tynan," "The Black Stallion,""Staying Alive," "Rumble Fish," "1918," "Death Becomes Her," "State and Main," "School Ties" and the recent "Synecdoche, New York."
Besides his daughter, Deirdre Higgins, Mr. Higgins is survived by his wife, the former Elizabeth Lee Goodwin; and two sons, Sean and Christopher.