The actor Cliff Gorman, who won a Tony Award for his performance as comedian Lenny Bruce in the Broadway show Lenny and who created an indelible if controversial characterization of Emory in The Boys in the Band Off-Broadway and on film, died of leukemia on September 5 at age 65.
Lenny, written by Julian Barry and directed by Tom O'Horgan, opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theater in May 1971. Though Gorman was hailed for his dynamic portrayal of the mercurial Bruce, the part went to Dustin Hoffman in the 1974 film adaptation of the play, directed by Bob Fosse. Essentially, Gorman got to play Bruce in the film within the Fosse film All That Jazz (1979), though the character was not named as such.
The actor did repeat his stage role of the mincing, flamboyant, stereotypically gay Emory in the 1970 film version of The Boys in the Band, along with the rest of the original Off-Broadway cast. Gorman had won an Obie Award for his performance in the Mart Crowley play, which opened in 1968. In addition to his Best Actor Tony Award for Lenny, he received a 1978 Tony nomination in the Featured Actor category for his performance as Leo in Neil Simon's Chapter Two. (The award went to Lester Rawlins for Da.)
Born in Queens, Gorman attended the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan and received a bachelor's degree in education from NYU. He appeared in such films as Rosebud, Night and the City, and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Sumarai, and was frequently seen on television. He is survived by his wife, Gayle.