James Colby, recently seen in Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Sweat, died on February 23 at the age of 56, according to his agent and management teams.
A native of Arlington, Massachusetts, Colby was a graduate of Bridgewater State University and Brooklyn College. He made his Broadway debut in the 1992 Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Shakespeare's Hamlet. His only other Broadway role came in 2017 as the bartender Stan in Sweat. He also played the role off-Broadway during the play's Public Theater debut in 2016.
Colby was a regular presence in off-Broadway and regional theater. He appeared in Horton Foote's Dividing the Estate and The Day Emily Married for Primary Stages, Theresa Rebeck's The Butterfly Collection for Playwrights Horizons, Nicky Silver's The Food Chain, and A.R. Gurney's Labor Day for Manhattan Theatre Club. Onscreen, Colby made appearances on Empire, Gotham, Waterfront, and Taxi Brooklyn.
Regionally, Colby's long association with Hartford Stage included Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire, Camino Real, Night of the Iguana, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He met his wife, the actor Alyssa Bresnahan, when she played Stella to his Stanley, during Streetcar in 1998.
Colby and Bresnahan married in 2008 and have a seven-year-old daughter, Shannon Rose, both of whom survive him.
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