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Brent Carver, Tony-Winning Originator of Roles in Spider Woman and Parade, Dies at 68

Carver was also a regular at the Stratford Festival in his native Canada.

Brent Carver
(© David Gordon)

Tony-winning actor Brent Carver, who originated the roles of Leo Frank and Molina on Broadway, has died at the age of 68. He died at home in Cranbrook, British Columbia, which his family described in a statement as "his birthplace and favorite place on Earth".

On Broadway, Carver is best known for his appearances in two beloved musicals: Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry's Parade, playing Leo Frank and earning a Tony nomination in 1999, and John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Terrence McNally's Kiss of the Spider Woman, playing gay window dresser Molina and earning 1993 Tony, Drama Desk, and Theatre World Awards. In 2004, he played Edgar in the Christopher Plummer-led revival of King Lear, and he made his final Broadway appearance as Friar Laurence in the 2013 revival of Romeo and Juliet, starring Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad.

Carver began his career on stage in Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris in 1972. He made his American stage debut in 1979 at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, playing Ariel to Anthony Hopkins's Prospero in The Tempest. He spent nine seasons at the Stratford Festival, making his debut in the 1980 production of Long Day's Journey Into Night, playing Edmund to William Hutt and Jessica Tandy's James and Mary. His Shakespearean resume there included Hamlet, Jaques, Don John, and Feste. Musically, he played the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance, the Emcee in Cabaret, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, and many other roles there. Carver originated the role of Gandalf in the Toronto stage production of The Lord of the Rings.

Carver was predeceased by his parents, Ken and Lois Carver, his sister Sherry Laurie and brothers Archie and Danny. He is survived by his sisters Vicki and Frankie and brothers Randy and Shawn, as well as their spouses, along with many nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.

A private family memorial will be held on Monday. A celebration of his life will be held by the Stratford Festival when public health conditions allow.

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