Michael McGrath Dies: Tony Award-Winning Actor Was 65

Veteran Broadway actor Michael McGrath died Sept 14 at his home in Bloomfield, NJ, according to his publicist. He was 65.

McGrath is known for originating the role of Patsy in the 2005 Broadway musical Spamalot, which earned him Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. He won a Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards in the same category for playing Cookie McGee in Nice Work If You Can Get It (2012). He was also known for his starring roles in Broadway’s Plaza Suite and Tootsie.

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Eric Idle, who wrote Spamalot‘s book and lyrics and co-wrote the music with John Du Prez, remembered McGrath in a statement on social media.

“Very saddened to hear that Michael McGrath, our first and most beloved Patsy in Spamalot, has passed away,” Idle wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “Warm hugs to all the Spamalot family and very happy memories of a lovely man.”

“It was an amazing time in my life to work with such people as Mike Nichols and Tim Curry, Hank Azaria, David Hyde Pierce,” McGrath said in an interview with Boston Irish in 2014 about his experience on Spamalot. “When the project was first presented to me, I thought, ‘How the hell are they gonna do a musical version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail?’ I just couldn’t see it. Nonetheless, when I was told that Mike Nichols was directing it, I jumped at the chance to be involved.”

McGrath also starred as Ralph Kramden in the 2017 musical production of The Honeymooners. His additional Broadway credits include the play Is He Dead? and originating the role of Mr. Simmons in Memphis. ). He was an ensemble member and understudy for several shows, including My Favorite YearSwinging on a Star, and Little Me. He also appeared in the musicals Anything Goes as Moonface Martin and in Wonderful Town (2003) as Chick Clark.

McGrath also had minor roles in films, including 2005’s The Interpreter starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn and 2002’s Changing Lanes. Most recently he was a member of the voice cast in the 2020 animated film Wolfwalkers, directed by Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart. On TV, McGrath served as announcer/sidekick on The Martin Short Show. His most recent television appearance was a guest-starring role in Madam Secretary in 2018.

McGrath is survived by his wife of 30 years, actor Toni DiBuono, whom he met while working in a Boston production of Forbidden Broadway, and daughter, actress Katie Claire McGrath.

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