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Dick Latessa (1929 - 2016)

AP Photos / file / Richard Drew

Dick Latessa (1929 - 2016)

Dick Latessa, an actor who won a Tony Award for best featured actor in a musical for "Hairspray,” died Monday, Dec. 19, 2016, according to multiple news sources. He was 87.

One of his co-stars in “Hairspray,” Harvey Fierstein, announced the news Tuesday, saying Latessa was "filled with love and mutual respect." No other details were immediately available.

The veteran stage actor was best remembered for his role as Wilbur Turnblad, the novelty-store owner who is the loyal, loving patriarch of the Turnblad family in “Hairspray.”


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Latessa was born Sept. 15, 1929, in Cleveland, Ohio. He served in the Army and then moved to New York City to become an actor. He made his Broadway debut in the 1968 musical “The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N.”

Latessa also appeared in the play “Damn Yankees” and the Neil Simon comedies “Chapter Two” and “Broadway Bound.”

The actor also appeared in the movies Alfie” and “The Substance of Fire.” On television, he had roles on “Law and Order” and “The Sopranos.”

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