Tony-winning actor and director Roger Rees, last seen on Broadway alongside Chita Rivera in “The Visit,” died Friday evening in his home after an undisclosed illness. He was 71.
Reese is survived by his husband, playwright Rick Elice (“Jersey Boys”).
The Welsh native did a number of TV and film work throughout his long career. On the small screen, he was best known for recurring roles on NBC’s “Cheers” (Robin Colcord) and NBC’s “The West Wing” (Lord John Marbury).
On the big screen, there were roles in “The Prestige” (2006), “Frida” (2002) and the Mel Brooks 1993 classic “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.”
Reese appeared in nine Broadway shows, making his debut on the Great White Way in 1974’s “London Assurance.” Other notable roles included Gomez in “The Addams Family” (2011) and the 2013 revival of “The Winslow Boy.”
He won his Tony in 1982 for playing the title character in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s epic adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby,” which was performed on Broadway in two parts, each four hours in length.
The London production of the play was recorded and aired on U.S. television over multiple nights in 1983.
Rees also co-directed 2012’s “Peter and the Starcatcher” on Broadway, which was written by Elice. Both Rees and his co-director Alex Timbers received Tony nominations for their work on the show.
Although Rees opened “The Visit” on Broadway, he was unable to complete the show’s run, departing the production a few weeks after its April 23 opening to undergo treatment for an unspecified medical condition.
At the time, “Visit” producer Tom Kirdahy said he was hopeful that Rees’ prognosis was “bright.” “He’ll be back on stage as soon as he can and we can’t wait to welcome him back,” Kirdahy said in a statement.
And while Rees was never able to return to the Kander & Ebb musical (the show closed June 14), his performance was captured on the original cast recording, which hit stores yesterday.