Russell Nype
Russell Harold Nype

(1920-04-26)April 26, 1920
DiedMay 27, 2018(2018-05-27) (aged 98)
Alma materLake Forest College
Occupation(s)Actor, singer
Years active1949–1991
SpouseDiantha Fitch Lawrence (m. 1953–2015; her death)

Russell Harold Nype (April 26, 1920 – May 27, 2018)[1] was an American actor and singer.

Early years

Born in Zion, Illinois, Nype majored in speech and English at Lake Forest College,[2] earning a bachelor's degree.[3] During World War II, he served in the United States Army.[1] Early in his New York career, press stories frequently mentioned his Illinois roots and religiously strict upbringing: "I come from the severest aspects of the Midwestern Bible belt. My family hasn't actually written me off because I'm in show business, but they'd be much happier if I concentrated my performances on singing hymns in church. My answer is that I couldn't support my wife and children."[4]


After teaching ballroom dance and singing in nightclubs,[1] Nype made his Broadway debut in Marc Blitzstein's opera Regina in 1949. The following year he won critical acclaim and both the Tony and Theatre World Awards for his performance opposite Ethel Merman in Call Me Madam.[5] One Broadway columnist provided a measure of how quickly he rose from obscurity in the show: "A week ago, Russell Nype was such an unknown that Celebrity Service, which keeps files on performers, didn't even list his name. The day after he opened in Call Me Madam Celeb Service received 60 phone calls from agents, writers, and producers asking for background material on him, and his phone number. He gets featured billing in the show next week."[6] Merman and Nype were reunited in 1970 when, late in the run of the original production of Hello, Dolly!, Merman joined the show in the title role and Nype was cast as Cornelius Hackl. Nype later appeared in revivals of Carousel, Brigadoon, and Morning's at Seven, and opposite Elaine Stritch in the short-lived musical Goldilocks, for which he won his second Tony.[7] A Bucks County (PA) Playhouse engagement in 1960 was a revival of the 1935 play Petticoat Fever, with added new songs.[8]

Nype caught Hollywood's attention early and was offered a role in MGM's Young Man in a Hurry. MGM released him after eight days of filming, and the movie eventually debuted with Glenn Ford as Young Man with Ideas in 1952. As Nype explained, "I realized from the outset that I was too young for the role. It was originally written for Jimmy Stewart and the character was supposed to be married 10 years and have three children--eight, five, and one years old....When the studio bosses saw the first eight days' rushes, they agreed with me that I was too young for the part."[9]

Nype's feature film credits include Love Story (1970), Can't Stop the Music (1980) and The Stuff (1985). On television he appeared in Studio One, Fantasy Island, One Day at a Time, The Cosby Show, Murder, She Wrote, Who's the Boss?, and productions of One Touch of Venus, Kiss Me, Kate and Morning's at Seven.

Personal life

Nype married Diantha Fitch Lawrence on March 7, 1953; the couple had one child, a son. Diantha Lawrence Nype died in 2015.[10]


Nype died in West Palm Beach, Florida, on May 27, 2018, at the age of 98, survived by his son, two grandchildren, and two stepchildren.[11]


Year Title Role Notes
1970 Love Story Dean Thompson
1980 Can't Stop the Music Richard Montgomery
1983 Balboa Senator Highsmith
1985 The Stuff Richards



  1. ^ a b c Gans, Andrew. "Two-Time Tony-Winning Actor Russell Nype Dies at 98". Playbill. Playbill, Inc. Archived from the original on August 9, 2019. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  2. ^ Barnard, Ken (January 23, 1966). "Nype's Fine Duet With Miss Kitt". Detroit Free Press. Michigan, Detroit. p. 23. Retrieved June 25, 2019 – via
  3. ^ Barnes, Mike (June 4, 2018). "Russell Nype, Two-Time Tony Winner and Star of 'Call Me Madam,' Dies at 98". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on August 9, 2019. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  4. ^ Stern, Harold. "Russell Nype Unusual Show Type", Yonkers (NY) Herald-Statesmen, February 10, 1959.
  5. ^ "Russell Nype moves up ladder". The Pittsburgh Press. June 2, 1968. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  6. ^ Kilgallen, Dorothy. "Voice of Broadway", Olean (NY) Times Herald, October 23, 1950.
  7. ^ Russell Nype at the Internet Broadway Database
  8. ^ "Novelties on Straw Hat Circuit", Philadelphia Inquirer, June 19, 1960.
  9. ^ Thomas, Bob. "Russell Nype Bows out of Debut Movie", Cortland (NY) Standard, September 15, 1951.
  10. ^ "Noted Singer to Wed", Utica (NY) Daily Press, February 18, 1953.
  11. ^ "Russell Nype, Two-Time Tony-Winning Actor, Dies at 98". The New York Times. June 4, 2018. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  12. ^ "("Russell Nype" search results)". Tony Awards. Tony Award Productions. Archived from the original on August 9, 2019. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  13. ^ "Theatre World Award Recipients". Theatre World Awards. Archived from the original on August 9, 2019. Retrieved August 9, 2019.