Robert LuPone, an actor and artistic director who co-founded and led MCC Theater for nearly 40 years, has passed away following a three year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 76.
Mr. LuPone was born July 29, 1946, in Brooklyn, NY to Angela and Orlando LuPone, a school librarian and an educational administrator. He trained as a dancer, and graduated from Juilliard, where he studied with Martha Graham, Antony Tudor, and José Limón. He entered the world of theatre through the HB Studio under Uta Hagen, and quickly became an in demand performer in New York, appearing in the original Broadway runs of Noël Coward's Sweet Potato, Minnie's Boys, The Rothschilds, and The Magic Show.
In 1973, Mr. LuPone made his credited film debut in Jesus Christ Superstar, portraying the Apostle James. In 1975, he returned to Broadway, and Mr. LuPone was Tony nominated for his role as Zach in the original production of A Chorus Line. A decade later, Mr. LuPone would co-found the Off-Broadway theatre company MCC Theater alongside Bernard Telsey and William Cantler. Founded as an artists collective designed to offer peer based classes and playwright development, MCC Theater is a leading Off-Broadway company, having produced six Neil LaBute plays, as well as Jocelyn Bioh's School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play, Robert Askins' Hand to God, and Margaret Edson's Wit, which received the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Mr. LuPone also served as the director of the MFA program at The New School, which provides graduate degrees in playwriting, directing, and acting.
Mr. LuPone remained a frequent face on stage and screen throughout his career, with his Broadway credits including Saint Joan, A View From The Bridge, True West, and A Thousand Clowns. He appeared in sixteen feature films, and thirty one television shows, including several prominent runs in the variations of the Law and Order franchise. He was also a stalwart member of many soap operas, including Search for Tomorrow as Tom Bergman, Ryan's Hope as Chester Wallace, All My Children as Zach Grayson, Another World as Neal Cory, Loving as Leonard Brill/Charley Nichols, and Guiding Light as Leo Flynn.
Mr. LuPone is survived by his wife Virginia, his son Orlando, his sister Patti, and his brother William.