Ted Ross, television, movie and stage actor who won a Tony for his portrayal of the Cowardly Lion in “The Wiz,” died Sept. 3 in Dayton, Ohio, after having suffered a stroke in 1998 and was later moved to a nursing home. He was 68.
There was something of fate attached to his subsequent “Wiz” participation: When he was 18, he won $5 in an amateur-night contest by singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
He went on to play the sensible chauffeur Bitterman to Dudley Moore’s character in “Arthur” and had roles in “Ragtime,” “Amityville II,” “Police Academy,” “Stealing Home” and “The Fisher King.”
He had the recurring role of Dean Harris on “The Cosby Show” and “A Different World” plus appeared in numerous other TV shows including “Benson,” “The Jeffersons” and “The Equalizer.”
He won the Tony in 1975 for best supporting actor in a musical for his portrayal in “The Wiz.” He reprised the role in the 1978 film and its sequel.