Tony Winner Richard Easton Dies at 86

Obituaries   Tony Winner Richard Easton Dies at 86
 
The stage and screen veteran's Broadway credits include The Invention of Love, The Coast of Utopia, and Macbeth.
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Richard Easton, whose six-decade career on Broadway included a Tony-winning performance and a resilient return after an onstage medical scare, died December 2 at the age of 86. News of his death was shared by friend James Wallert, co-artistic director of Epic Theatre Ensemble, where Mr. Easton performed in Macbeth in 2012 prior to a Broadway revival of the Shakespeare tragedy the following year.

Born March 22, 1933, in Montreal, Mr. Easton first performed professionally at 17 with a repertory company in Ottawa before making his West End debut in 1954's Both Ends Meet. He debuted on Broadway three years later in a consecutive string of classics: Measure for Measure, The Taming of the Shrew, and The Duchess of Malfi. He followed the trio with The Country Wife, earning a Theatre World Award for his breakout performance as Mr. Harcourt.

Tony Award winners Robert Sean Leonard and Richard Easton in The Invention of Love.
Tony Award winners Robert Sean Leonard and Richard Easton in The Invention of Love. Photo by Photo by Paul Kolnik

Several Broadway productions followed into the '70s, including Phoenix Repertory Company presentations of The Show Off and Pantagleize and Hamlet, The Cocktail Party, The Misanthrope, and Cock-a-Doodle Dandy.

After a nearly 30-year hiatus, Mr. Easton returned to Broadway in 2001 with Tom Stoppard's The Invention of Love. His leading performance earned him a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award. He'd go on to appear in Stoppard's three-part The Coast of Utopia in 2006. During a preview performance, Mr. Easton collapsed as he exited a scene due to an arrhythmia, prompting co-stars Martha Plimpton and Ethan Hawke to call out to the audience, asking if there was a doctor in the house. His medical leave prompted the Lincoln Center Theater production to delay its opening night, but Mr. Easton returned about three weeks later to rejoin the cast.

Following The Coast of Utopia, Mr. Easton appeared on Broadway in the short-lived Elling in 2010 and the aforementioned Macbeth. He was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2008.

Mr. Easton's myriad screen credits include Revolutionary Road, Finding Forrester, Kenneth Branagh's Henry V, and the BBC series The Brothers.

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