Jack Dabdoub, Broadway Actor Who Played Lead in Man of La Mancha, Dies at 89

News   Jack Dabdoub, Broadway Actor Who Played Lead in Man of La Mancha, Dies at 89
Jack Dabdoub, an actor who performed in more than a dozen Broadway shows, including the original production of Man of La Mancha, died Dec. 11, according to his daughter, Alison Dabdoub.

Mr. Dabdoub was a busy actor on Broadway in the 1950s and '60s. He made his debut in Paint Your Wagon and went on to take ensemble roles in My Darlin' Aida, Happy Hunting, Camelot and Baker Street.

In Man of La Mancha, he was an alternate in the lead role of Don Quixote, playing it on matinees, and eventually came to assume the part. When the musical returned to Broadway in 1972, he played the Innkeeper.

He was a standby for Frank Butler in the 1966 revival of Annie Get Your Gun, and had roles in the 1980 revival of Brigadoon, the 1987 revival of Anything Goes, the 1992 mounting of The Most Happy Fella and the 1994 rendition of Show Boat, his final Broadway credit.

Equipped with a powerful voice, he also performed many musicals roles in summer stock, and occasionally sang opera.

His long resume also included one infamous credit, the comedy Moose Murders, which opened and closed one fateful night in 1983 and has lived on in Broadway lore ever since. Mr. Dabdoub played Joe Buffalo Dance. A New Orleans native of Syrian ancestry (hence his interesting moniker, which often caught the eye of curious critics), Mr. Dabdoub attended Tulane University. He worked steadily from an early age, but infrequently grabbed headlines. One exception occurred in 1954, when the New York Times covered his performance as the Genie in Arabian Nights in Jones Beach Marine Theatre. The reason: he performed atop a 75-foot tower that faced a lagoon—a job dangerous enough to warrant the constant presence of a stagehand who held tight to a harness the actor wore.

According to the article, Mr. Dabdoub was less bothered by the height than by the cold. "Later in the season he plans to have a nightly supply of hot coffee on hand," wrote the Times.

Married to Rosemary Lynch on Nov. 27, 1959, he had three children: Jack III, Patrick and Alison.

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