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George Hearn (born June 18, 1934) is an American actor and singer, primarily in Broadway musical theatre.

Early years

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Hearn studied philosophy at Southwestern at Memphis, now Rhodes College before he embarked on a career in the theater, training for the stage with actress turned acting coach Irene Dailey. Most of Hearn's early performances were in traditional productions at the New York Shakespeare Festival and theaters at Lincoln Center.[1]

Career

Hearn's career began in 1963 when he played Sir Dinidan in a national tour of Camelot with Biff McGuire and Jeannie Carson, standing by for McGuire, who played King Arthur. He first garnered a notice as John Dickinson in the acclaimed 1969 musical 1776 and as Liv Ullmann's leading man in the musical version of I Remember Mama (1979).[1]

On March 4, 1980 he replaced Len Cariou in the title role of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd opposite Dorothy Loudon. Later in 1980 Hearn and the show's original star, Angela Lansbury, headed the show's touring company, then reprised their roles for a Showtime production of the musical, which won him an Emmy Award for his portrayal.[2][3]

In 1983 Hearn created the role of Albin in the original Broadway production of La Cage aux Folles written by Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman. Hearn originated the gay anthem "I Am What I Am".[4] He won the Tony Award, Drama Desk Awardand Outer Critics' Circle Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Albin. Hearn also appeared in the West End production (which opened in May 1986).

In 1985, Hearn starred as Long John Silver in an Edmonton production of Pieces of Eight, a musical adaptation of Treasure Island. Despite its credentials, including composer Jule Styne, it never was staged again.[5]

Hearn and Lansbury remained friends, and the actress invited him to guest star on several episodes of her CBS sleuth series Murder, She Wrote in the early 1990s.[6]

He won a second Tony award for his role as Max Von Mayerling in the original Broadway production of Sunset Boulevard, and was nominated again for playing Otto Frank in the 2000 revival of The Diary of Anne Frank.

On July 20, 2004, Hearn returned to Broadway for the first time in four years, starring as the Wizard in the Broadway musical Wicked, remaining until May 29, 2005.[7][8] Hearn later returned to the musical for a limited two-week engagement from January 17 through February 1, 2006.

In 2008 he starred in a production of The Visit by John Kander and Fred Ebbalongside Chita Rivera at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia. The Visit opened to positive reviews on May 13, 2008 and closed June 22, 2008.[9]

Hearn's recordings include Sunset Boulevard (1994 Los Angeles Cast, and later the Broadway Cast Recording), Sweeney Todd Live at the New York PhilharmonicMack & Mabel (1988 London Concert Cast), I Remember Mama (1985 Studio Cast), Follies in Concert (1985 Live Performance), and A Stephen Sondheim Evening (1983 Concert Cast).[10]

Hearn was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame on January 29, 2007.[11]

Personal life

Hearn's spouses include Susan Babel, Mary Harrell, with whom he had one son; Dixie Carter (1977–1979), girlfriend Betsy Joslyn (1979–1984), and current wife Leslie Simons. Hearn and Simons have two sons.[1][12][13] He currently resides in Essex, New York.

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1975 The Silence Captain Nichols TV movie
1976 Sea Marks
1979 Sanctuary of Fear
1982 A Piano for Mrs. Cimino
Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street Sweeney Todd
1989 See You in the Morning Martin
1990 The Young Riders Elijah Quinn Guest Star. Season 2, Episode 4: "Blood Moon"
1991 The Golden Girls Guest Star Episode: "Henny Penny, Straight No Chaser"
Fire in the Dark
1992 Murder She Wrote Episode: "The Wind Around the Tower"
Sneakers Gregor
1993 The Vanishing Arthur Bernard
1994 The Pagemaster Captain Ahab Voice role
1995 Annie: A Royal Adventure! Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks TV movie
1996 All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 Red Voice role
1997 The Devil's Own Peter Fitzsimmons
1998 Barney's Great Adventure Grandpa
1999 Sarah Plain and Tall: Winter's End
2001 Sweeney Todd in Concert
2006 Flags of Our Fathers

Stage

Year Title Notes
1966 A Time for Singing
1968 Henry IV Part 1 Public Theater, Delacorte Theater[14]
1969 1776
1973 The Changing Room
1975 Hamlet
1979 I Remember Mama
1980 Sweeney Todd
1982 A Doll's Life
1983 La Cage aux Folles
1989 Ghetto
Meet Me in St. Louis
1994 Sunset Boulevard
1997 The Diary of Anne Frank
1999 Putting It Together
2004 Wicked
2008 The Visit Signature Theatre, Arlington, VA
2012 Scandalous

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
1980 Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Watch on the Rhine Nominated
1983 Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical A Doll's Life Nominated
CableACE Award Actor in a Theatrical or Musical Program Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Won
1984 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical La Cage aux Folles Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Won
1985 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Won
1986 Laurence Olivier Award Outstanding Performance of the Year by an Actor in a Musical La Cage aux Folles Nominated
1995 Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Sunset Boulevard Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Nominated
2000 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Putting It Together Nominated
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