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Death Notice
  • "I had a brief but memorable encounter with Mr. Thacker..."
    - Wes Eichenwald
  • "Very happy memories of Russ. The talent was almost..."
    - John M
  • "He was a great guy. He had fought and won a bout with..."
  • "I met Rusty when we were students at East Carolina..."
  • "I was privileged to get to know Russ when we appeared in "A..."
    - Jackie Bates


1946 ~ 2012  

Russ "Rusty" Thacker starred in the musical Your Own Thing in 1968 and received rave reviews from Walter Kerr and Clive Barnes. Thacker then went on to star in a record number of Broadway shows in the 1970s and "80s that closed in a week or less: Heathen, Dear Oscar, Home Sweet Homer (with Yul Brynner as Odysseus), The Grass Harp (with Barbara Cook), Do Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up, and Me Jack, You Jill. Thacker and Allen Hill performed a cabaret review mentioning these short runs in fun. Thacker toured as Barnum, George M, Pippin, and Will Rogers, and also starred alongside Gene Kelly, Vincent Price, Georgia Engel, Priscilla Lopez, Judith Ivey, Debbie Boone, Sandy Duncan, Shirley Booth, Donna McKechnie, and others. Thacker was born on June 23, 1946 in Washington, DC, attended Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, and played leading roles in shows there; shortly after graduation, he and Georgia Engel (from nearby Walter Johnson High School and later of the Mary Tyler Moore Show) starred in Earnest in Love and Tip-Toes. He made his Broadway debut in 1967 in the revival of Life with Father. He died of cancer on December 7, 2012. He is survived by his partner of 18 years, John Olund, a singer in New York City; Jeffrey Thacker of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and Billie Saunders of Silver Spring, Maryland.
His B-CC classmates have set up a fund: online at or by check payable to B-CC HS Educational Foundation, at P.O. Box 31209, Bethesda, MD 20824-1209. Donors should note that the contribution is in memory of Rusty Thacker, for the B-CC Drama Department.
No services are planned

Published in The Washington Post on Dec. 14, 2012
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