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Richard Easton, Veteran Stage and Screen Actor, Dies at 86

He won a Tony Award in 2001 for his performance in Tom Stoppard's The Invention of Love.

Tony winner Richard Easton has died at the age of 86.
(© David Gordon)

Richard Easton, a veteran of stage and screen, died on December 2 at his home in Manhattan from congestive heart failure, according to Jonathan Walker, executor of his estate. He was 86.

Born John Richard Easton in March 22, 1933, in Montreal, he began acting in his teenage years and, at 17, moved to Ottawa to work at a repertory theater. He would later win a scholarship that brought him to the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, where he stayed for two years, before returning to Canada and then signing on with the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut. That stint finally led him to Broadway, where he made his Great White Way debut in 1957 in Measure for Measure, The Taming of the Shrew, and The Duchess of Malfi with the company.

From then on, he appeared regularly on Broadway throughout the rest of the 1950s, the '60s, and early '70s, before returning to England, where he starred in perhaps his best-known role, on television in the BBC series The Brothers (1972-76). Only in 2001, with The Invention of Love, would Easton finally return to Broadway.

That play earned Easton a Tony Award in 2001 for his role as the poet A.E. Housman. In 2006, while performing in a preview of another Stoppard play, The Coast of Utopia, at Lincoln Center Theater's Vivian Beaumont Theater, Easton suffered a heart attack onstage. He would later return to the production, fitted with a pacemaker, and end up performing in all three parts of the Stoppard trilogy. His last role was as Duncan opposite Ethan Hawke in Macbeth in 2013.

Easton has no immediate survivors.

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