Dick Latessa
Richard Robert Latessa

(1929-09-15)September 15, 1929
DiedDecember 19, 2016(2016-12-19) (aged 87)
New York City, U.S.
Resting placeLake View Cemetery
Years active1968–2016
Notable credits

Richard Robert Latessa (September 15, 1929 – December 19, 2016) was an American stage, film, and television actor.

Early life

Latessa was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1929.[1] After serving in the Army in maybe 1952, he began performing in Cleveland before moving to New York in 1959 to pursue acting professionally.[2]

Stage career

He made his Broadway debut in The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N in 1968. His subsequent theatre credits include Follies, Rags, The Cherry Orchard, Damn Yankees, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Awake and Sing!, Cabaret, The Will Rogers Follies and Hairspray, for which he won both the Tony- and Drama Desk awards for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. In 2012, he appeared opposite Linda Lavin in the Nicky Silver drama, The Lyons.[3]

Latessa was featured in several Neil Simon plays, including Chapter Two, I Ought to Be in Pictures, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Broadway Bound, Rumors and Proposals. He was featured in the 2010 revival of the Burt Bacharach and Hal David musical, Promises, Promises as Dr. Dreyfuss.[4]

Film and television career

Latessa's screen credits include The Substance of Fire, Alfie, and Stigmata. He appeared in numerous television movies, including Izzy and Moe, The Trial of Bernhard Goetz, and Pudd'nhead Wilson, and such primetime series as Get Smart, Mission: Impossible, Ironside, Spenser: For Hire, The Sopranos, Ed, and Law & Order. He is widely known as the second and most recognized actor to play Noel Douglas on The Edge of Night. He later played Neil Hayes on One Life to Live.


Latessa died on December 19, 2016, of heart failure in New York City, aged 87.[2]


Year Title Role Notes
1996 The Substance of Fire Mr. McCormack sr
1997 Better Than Ever Mr. Mayhew
1999 Stigmata Father Gianni Delmonico
2003 The Event Uncle Leo
2004 Alfie Joe
2005 The Great New Wonderful Jerry Binder
2007 The Last New Yorker Ruben
2010 A Buddy Story Grandpa

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
2003 Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Musical Hairspray Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Won
2010 Promises, Promises Nominated


  1. ^ "Dick Latessa Biography". Filmreference. 2008. Retrieved May 6, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Dick Latessa, a Broadway Veteran & Tony Winner for Hairspray, Dies at 87". broadway.com. December 19, 2016. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  3. ^ Chris Kompanek (April 19, 2012). "Dick Latessa Lies Down With The Lyons". Theatermania. Retrieved May 6, 2012.
  4. ^ Kenneth Jones (February 4, 2010). "Promises, Promises Will Also Star Latessa, Hingston, Benson; Complete Cast Announced". Playbill. Retrieved May 6, 2012.