Shawn Elliott

Obituary
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    - Sam Weisman
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  • "I miss you dad."
    - Ivy Kaller
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1937 - 2016
Shawn Elliott, a dynamic actor and singer on stage, film, and TV for nearly 60 years, passed away on March 11 at his home in New York City, surrounded by his loving family and friends. He was 79.

A member of the original cast of "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris," and Broadway's "City of Angels," and "Marie Christine," Elliott also had diverse Off Broadway and regional credits including, "Cyrano de Bergerac," "Senor Discretion Himself," "Teresa's Ecstasy," "A Park in Our House," "Hamlet," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," and "Man of La Mancha." He worked with premier theater companies across the country including: The Public Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Roundabout Theatre Company, New York Theatre Workshop, Epic Theatre Ensemble, ACT, New York Stage and Film, McCarter Theatre, Arena Stage, La Jolla Playhouse, Dallas Theater Center, Denver Center Theatre, and the Goodspeed Opera House.

His films include: the award-winning "13 Conversations about One Thing," with Alan Arkin, Matthew McConaughey and John Turturro, "Double Take," "Short Eyes," "Crossover Dreams," "Hurricane Streets," "Caught," "Impulse," "Beat Street," Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing," "Arbitrage," with Richard Gere, and "Broken City" with Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe. On TV, Elliott had recurring roles on NBC's "Law & Order," and Lifetime's "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd," co-starred in the 1990s PBS teen hit "Ghostwriter," the HBO film "Someone Had to Be Benny" and guest starred on many shows including "Miami Vice," "CSI: Miami" and "American Family".

A lifetime member of The Actors Studio and the Ensemble Studio Theatre, Elliott received a 1998 ALMA Award for Outstanding Latino Cast for PBS' "Foto-Novelas." In 2000, he was honored with the Rita Moreno Award for Excellence by the Hispanic Organization of Latin Artists (HOLA).

Born Eliezer Santiago Solis in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Elliott came to New York City when he was 11 months old, and grew up in East Harlem where he first started singing in a community center production of "Oklahoma." After changing his name, he went on to become an international nightclub performer and recording artist, touring with R&B star Lloyd Price. Before his career shifted to acting, Elliott recorded for such labels as Roulette Records, Atlantic Records and Decca/London, and had a #1 hit in Europe and South America with his 1965 cover of the Sir Lancelot song "Shame and Scandal in the Family." He also recorded a Spanish language album with latin jazz legend Tito Puente, "Y Ahora Que" ("What Now, My Love"). Elliott attended Columbia University and the Berklee School of Music.

His survivors include his wife and partner of 36 years, actress Donna Murphy, brother Roland Elliott, three daughters Ivy Kaller, Justine McLaughlin, and Darmia Hope Murphy Elliott, and his grandchildren Christopher Kaller, Susan McLaughlin, Kaitlyn McLaughlin, Ava McLaughlin, and Lily McLaughlin, and great-granddaughter Cadence Kaller. A memorial was held on Saturday 3/19. In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be made to the or The Actors Fund of America.
Published on NYTimes.com from Mar. 29 to Mar. 30, 2016
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