Bob LuPone, Broadway change-maker and The Sopranos actor, dies at 76

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Robert "Bob" LuPone, the Broadway veteran and co-founder of the MCC Theater, died Saturday after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 76.

His publicist confirmed the news to EW and provided a statement from the MCC Theater that said, "The MCC Theater community mourns the loss of our much loved and uniquely inspiring partner, colleague, and dear friend, Bob LuPone, who lived fearlessly and with great curiosity, good humor, a boundless passion for connection, and a whole lot of heart. We will miss him deeply and always."

The brother of theater legend Patti LuPone, Bob LuPone was a star of stage and screen in his own right. He earned a Tony nomination for his portrayal of Zach in the original production of A Chorus Line, while television audiences would recognize him as Dr. Bruce Cusamano, the physician of Tony Soprano and his family on The Sopranos.

LuPone was born July 29, 1946, in Brooklyn, New York. He showed an interest in performing from a young age, training as a dancer and studying at Juilliard, as well as studying acting under Uta Hagen.

Bob LuPone
Bob LuPone

Jim Spellman/WireImage Bob LuPone

He made his professional debut in a 1966 production of The Pajama Game starring Liza Minnelli, before making the move to Broadway in the 1968 production of Noel Coward's Sweet Potato.

His biggest break would come in 1976's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical A Chorus Line. Initially cast as Al, LuPone persuaded director and choreographer Michael Bennett to move him into the role of Zach when the original actor left the production. The role earned him a Tony Award nomination.

In 1986, LuPone founded the Manhattan Class Company along with casting director Bernard Telsey, LuPone's former student at NYU, and co-artistic director Will Cantler. Now known as MCC Theater, it's become a breeding ground for some of the stage's most provocative, groundbreaking work, including Reasons to be Pretty, The Other Place, The Snow Geese, and Wit.

While serving as co-artistic director of MCC for nearly 40 years, LuPone also continued his work as an actor, in Broadway productions such as A View from the Bridge, True West, and A Thousand Clowns. In addition to his stint on The Sopranos, he appeared on television in Sex and the City, Guiding Light, and All My Children, the latter of which earned him a Daytime Emmy nomination.

He also served as the director of the MFA drama program at the New School for Drama from 2005 through 2011 and served as president of the board of directors of A.R.T/New York.

"There's no better life," LuPone said in a 2019 interview with the Primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral History Project. "Despite the cost, there's no better life than a life in theater in New York City, with the community, with the ups and downs, with the fullness of life and creativity that you experience. Both positive and negative, with the joys and sorrows of inspiration. That's the reason to do any of this. And it's a great life… it's a great life."

In addition to his sister, LuPone is survived by his wife Virginia, his son Orlando, and his brother William.

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