Byron Nease, Phantom Actor, Dies at 59

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21 Oct 2013

Byron Nease, who originated the role of Raoul in the Canadian production of The Phantom of the Opera, died Oct. 16. He was 59.

Mr. Nease played the role of Raoul for more than five years and can be heard on the original Canadian cast recording of the show. In total, he performed in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical more than 1,700 times.

He made his sole Broadway appearance playing Patrick Dennis in the 1983 revival of Mame starring Angela Lansbury. Other theatre credits included Annie Get Your Gun, Camelot, A Little Night Music, West Side Story, Carousel and South Pacific.

Mr. Nease wrote the 2008 autobiography "Behind the Mask..No More," in which he discussed living with HIV, which he was diagnosed with in the 1980s.