All My Children, Loving alum Robert LuPone dead at 76

Posted Monday, August 29, 2022 6:18:04 AM
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Bob LuPone (Zach Grayson, All My Children; Leonard Brill, Loving) lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on Saturday. The actor, who was also a leader of the off-Broadway company MCC Theater, was 76.

Daytime Emmy-nominated and Tony-nominated actor Robert LuPone passed away on August 27, 2022, at the age of 76. He had been battling pancreatic cancer for three years.

Having lived and breathed theater, LuPone -- older brother to actress Patti LuPone -- was the co-founder of the Off-Broadway company MCC Theatre, and he had an illustrious stage and screen career that included roles on several daytime dramas.

The actor's death was confirmed by the MCC Theater in a statement released on Saturday to the Associated Press.

"The MCC Theater community mourns the loss of our much loved and uniquely inspiring partner, colleague and dear friend, Bob LuPone, who lived fearlessly and with great curiosity, good humor, a boundless passion for connection and a whole lot of heart," the statement read. "We will miss him deeply and always."

LuPone was born on July 29, 1946, in Brooklyn, New York. His career as an artist began with a family act called "The Lupone Trio" with his sister, Patti, and his twin brother, William. He enrolled in tap dancing lessons shortly thereafter, before eventually enrolling in the renowned Martha Graham Studio. He later went on to win admission to the world-famous Juilliard School for performing arts, where he earned a BFA in Dance.

By 1966, LuPone was performing in an ensemble of The Pajama Game with Liza Minnelli and he made his Broadway debut two years later in Noel Coward's Sweet Potato. He quickly followed that up with the role of Al in the original production of A Chorus Line, which, as fate would have it, ended up changing his whole career: when another actor from the show departed, LuPone asked to audition for the actor's slot; he was granted permission to do so and won the role of Zach, which earned LuPone a Tony nod later that same year. (The production as a whole scored 12 Tony nominations in the 1976 ceremony.)

After earning major success on stage, LuPone turned toward the world of film and television. Some of his early screen credits included Jesus Christ Superstar, Rich Man, Poor Man -- Book II, and The Feather and Father Gang. However, daytime fans most remember him for his multitude of soap opera roles.

LuPone's first soap roles were that of Chester Wallace on Ryan's Hope and Tom Bergman on Search for Tomorrow. In 1984, he landed the role of con man Zach Grayson on All My Children. Zach began an illicit affair with Marian Colby (Jennifer Bassey) that ended in his murder after he tried blackmailing his rich new lover and several other Pine Valley citizens. The storyline included many AMC icon Peter Bergman (ex-Cliff Warner; Jack Abbott, The Young and the Restless) and Heather Stanford (Nina Cortlandt), and it also earned LuPone a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role in 1985.

LuPone continued in daytime with the roles of Neal Cory on Another World (1985 to 1986), Leonard Brill on Loving (1991 to 1994), and District Attorney Leo Flynn on Guiding Light (1989 to 1997).

Some of LuPone's other television credits include The Sopranos, Law & Order, Sex and the City, Ally McBeal, JAG, and Billions. His film credits include High Stakes, Funny Games, The Doors, The Door in the Floor, American Tragedy, Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story, Dead Presidents, Breaking Point, and Then She Found Me.

In addition to acting, LuPone also taught the craft to students at New York University. While there, he met a student named Bernie Telsey, and together they founded the Manhattan Class Company (now known as the MCC Theatre) in 1986. The pair, along with Will Cantler, led MCC across four decades, producing shows that ended up on Broadway such as Frozen, Reasons to Be Pretty, Hand to God, School Girls; or the African Mean Girls Play, and Wit.

LuPone also served as the director of the MFA drama program at the New School for Drama from 2005 to 2011, as well as the president of the board of directors of A.R.T./New York.

He is survived by his wife, Virginia; his son, Orlando; his sister, Patti; and his brother, William.

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