Stephen Elliott

Actor

Screen and TV thesp Stephen Elliott died of heart failure May 21 in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 86.

Elliot was known for his role as Burt Johnson in the 1981 comedy “Arthur.”

His stage career included a Drama Desk Award-winning performance in “A Whistle in the Dark” (1969), and the Tony-nommed role of Monsieur Coulmier in the 1967 Broadway revival of Peter Weiss’s “Marat/Sade.” A charter member of Jules Irving’s Lincoln Center Repertory Theatre, he appeared in numerous plays at The Vivian Beaumont, including “King Lear” in 1968.

A native New Yorker, he studied acting with Sanford Meisner at The Neighborhood Playhouse and made his Broadway debut in 1945 in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” Roles followed in “Command Decision” and “The Shrike.” At Lincoln Center Theatre, Elliott appeared in plays including “A Cry of Players,” “The Crucible,” “In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer,” “The Playboy of the Western World,” and “An Enemy of the People.” In 1972, he originated the role of God in Arthur Miller’s “The Creation of the World and Other Business” on Broadway.

A familiar face in musical theatre, Elliott had leading roles in “Georgy,” based on the film “Georgy Girl,” and “The Gay Life.” Other Broadway credits include “Gypsy,” in which he appeared briefly opposite Ethel Merman.

On film, he appeared in Paddy Chayevsky’s “The Hospital,” “Death Wish,” “Hindenburg,” “Cutter’s Way” and “Beverly Hills Cop.” He appeared on TV over five decades in shows ranging from Philco Playhouse to “Columbo,” “Beacon Hill,” “St. Elsewhere” and “Chicago Hope.”

In addition to his wife, Alice Hirson, an actress, Elliott is survived by a daughter, a son, two stepsons, and three grandchildren.

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