Dick Latessa

Dick Latessa

Highest Rated: 73% The Great New Wonderful (2005)

Lowest Rated: 22% Stigmata (1999)

Birthday: Sep 15, 1929

Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Actor Dick Latessa was a staple of Broadway musicals and comedies for more than four decades, including his Tony-winning turn in "Hairspray" and numerous productions of Neil Simon's comedies. Born Richard Robert Latessa on September 15, 1929 in Cleveland, Ohio, he took dance lessons as a young man, but harbored no interest in a performing career until his late 20s, when a musical performance at a theater in Cleveland inspired to audition for a role. Latessa left the Midwest for New York in 1959; there, he appeared in Off-Broadway and touring productions until making his Broadway debut opposite Tom Bosley in the 1968 musical "The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N." Latessa also began his screen acting career during this period with guest roles on series like "Get Smart" (NBC/CBS, 1965-1970) and "Ironside" (NBC, 1967-1975) and a year-long run on "The Edge of Night" (ABC/CBS, 1956-1984). But Broadway remained his most consistent and heralded showcase, most notably in musicals like the 1971 Broadway production of "Follies" and the plays of Neil Simon, including the original Broadway runs of "Chapter Two" (1977-1979) "I Ought to Be in Pictures" (1980-1981) and "Brighton Beach Memoirs" (1983-1986). Latessa continued to log numerous appearances on television series and the occasional in the 1980s and '90s, including "The Substance of Fire" (1996) and "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-2007) before creating the role of the eccentric but affectionate Wilbur Turnblad opposite Harvey Fierstein in the original Broadway run of "Hairspray in 2002. Latessa remained with the show for more than 1,000 performances and won both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his performance. His prolific stage and screen career continued into the new millennium with appearances in the 2010 Broadway revival of Simon's "Promises, Promises" and "The Lyons" in 2012. The latter proved to be his final stage role, while an appearance in the Bravo comedy series "Odd Mom Out" (2015- ) in 2015 marked his last turn on television. Latessa died of heart failure on December 19, 2016 at the age of 87; news of his passing drew heartfelt tributes from the city's theater community.

Highest rated movies



No Score Yet 50% A Buddy Story Grandfather (Character) - 2010
36% 17% The Last New Yorker Ruben (Character) $6.6K 2006
73% 45% The Great New Wonderful Jerry (Character) $150.1K 2005
48% 51% Alfie Joe (Character) $13.4M 2004
43% 52% The Event Uncle Leo (Character) $35.5K 2003
22% 63% Stigmata Father Gianni Delmonico (Character) $50M 1999
No Score Yet No Score Yet Thicker Than Blood Ciccilone (Character) - 1998
No Score Yet No Score Yet Rockabye Malcolm Sterling (Character) - 1986
No Score Yet 60% Izzy and Moe Lt. Murphy (Character) - 1985
No Score Yet No Score Yet Pudd'nhead Wilson Creech (Character) - 1984


78% 89% Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Judge Marcus Ridiger (Guest Star) 2010
93% 91% The Good Wife Judge Horace Dunn (Guest Star) 2009
80% No Score Yet Brotherhood Walter (Guest Star) 2007
40% 100% The Black Donnellys Unknown (Guest Star) 2007
No Score Yet No Score Yet Law & Order Unknown (Guest Star) 2002-2003 1997 1993 1990
25% No Score Yet Talk to Me Unknown (Guest Star) 2000
No Score Yet No Score Yet Soul Man Unknown (Guest Star) 1998
No Score Yet No Score Yet True Blue Detective Mike Duffy (Character) 1989-1990
No Score Yet No Score Yet Get Smart Unknown (Guest Star) 1968


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