Patti LuPone

Active - 1978 - 2019  |   Born - Apr 21, 1949 in Northport, New York, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Crime, Comedy, Theater, Music

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Julliard-educated singer/actress Patti LuPone was visiting Europe and England with a student theatre troupe when she was tapped to make her formal stage debut with the Young Vic. LuPone's first professional American gig was with John Houseman's The Acting Company in 1972. She was nominated for a Tony award for her work in the 1975 Broadway musical The Robber Bridegroom, and four years later won the coveted prize for her starring performance in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita. Her subsequent work included the London productions of Les Miserables and Sunset Boulevard; she was slated to star in the Broadway debut of the last-named property when, in a still-controversial move, Webber summarily replaced her with Glenn Close. She has since knocked 'em dead with her own New York-based one-woman show. LuPone has also made welcome film appearances since 1978's King of the Gypsies. On TV, Patti LuPone played Lady Bird Johnson in the 1987 biopic LBJ: The Early Years, starred as the mother of Christopher Burke in the weekly "dramedy" Life Goes On (1989-93), and was recently seen in the recurring role of a barracuda-like attorney on Law and Order.

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  • Named for great-great-aunt and opera soprano Adelina Patti.
  • Made stage debut tap dancing at the age of 4 and later performed with her teenage twin brothers as the LuPone Trio.
  • Breakout role was her Tony Award-winning performance of Eva Peron in Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit Evita in 1979.
  • Became the first American actress to win an Olivier Award (she received it for creating the role of Fantine in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Les Miserables).
  • Met husband Matthew while working on the TV movie LBJ: The Early Years in 1986; married him on the stage of the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center two years later.
  • Originated the role of Norma Desmond in the London production of Lloyd Webber's musical Sunset Boulevard and was under contract to transfer to Broadway; when the composer plucked Glenn Close from the Los Angeles production to open the show in New York, LuPone threatened to sue and won close to $1 million.
  • Stopped the show and broke character near the end of her Tony Award-winning run in Gypsy to chastise an audience member who was taking photographs during the performance.