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Sammy Williams, Tony-Winning Star of A Chorus Line, Dies at 69

Williams originated the role of Paul in the groundbreaking musical.

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Sammy Williams, an original star of A Chorus Line, has died.

Sammy Williams, the Tony-winning star of the groundbreaking musical A Chorus Line, has died at the age of 69, according to published reports.

For his performance as Paul San Marco, the young drag queen whose Catholic parents gradually learn to accept their son for who he is, Williams received the 1976 Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, as well as an Obie Award and a Theatre World Special Award.

Born in Trenton, New Jersey, Williams began dancing at the age of 8 after tagging along to his sister's dance class (his personal background would become the inspiration for the song "I Can Do That," sung by the character Mike, in A Chorus Line). Williams appeared in the ensembles of The Happy Time and Applause on Broadway.

Williams largely gave up acting after A Chorus Line, moving to California where, after making guest appearances on various television shows, he became a florist who designed floats for the annual Tournament of Roses parade for a decade.

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