Tony Musante, Actor Who Left ‘Toma,’ Dies at 77

Tony Musante Dead at 77; Starred

Tony Musante, who appeared on numerous TV shows, in films and on Broadway, but was best known for starring in 1973 series “Toma,” died Tuesday in Manhattan of a hemorrhage after oral surgery. He was 77.

Musante left the ABC detective show after one season to pursue opportunities onstage such as his first Broadway role, “P.S. Your Cat is Dead!,” and in films. After he left, the show was relaunched a few years later as “Baretta” and became popular with Robert Blake in Musante’s .

He had a recurring role on “Oz” and was nominated for an Emmy for “Medical Story.”

Among his film roles were “The Last Run” opposite George C. Scott in 1971, “The Pope of Greenwich Village” and 1967’s “The Incident” with Martin Sheen. He appeared on Broadway with Meryl Streep in Tennessee Williams’s “27 Wagons Full of Cotton” in 1976.

Although “Toma” was performing fairly well against highly-rated “The Waltons” and “The Flip Wilson Show,” he left to play the title role in Stanley Kramer’s 1975 telefilm “Judgment: The Court Martial of Lt. William Calley.”

“People in Hollywood always asked him if he regretted it, but he really never did,” his wife, Jane, told the New York Times, adding: “He didn’t become the household name, or make the money he would have had he done it. But he needed variety.”

He also appeared in several Italian TV shows and films such as 2003’s “La Vita Come Viene.”

Musante was born in Bridgeport, Conn. and graduated Oberlin College in Ohio. He is survived by his wife, two sisters and a brother.

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  1. Al says:

    Tony was a class act all the way; I don’t know how many times I passed him by on Bedford Street and said ‘hello’ as he looked at me and smiled.

  2. Patricia L. Ritchie says:

    No mention of Tony’s piano playing skills. I remember that I was in awe of his rendition of Bumble Boogie. His fingers flew across the keyboard. Tony was a neighbor way, way back to his Stratford CT days. We both attended Center School (elementary) and Stratford High School. He and his brother/sisters played Hide and Seek with my brother, Jim, and me. We walked the walk to and from Center School (elementary); in those days we had to go home for lunch, too! He was a big hit in Stratford High stage productions. (Think Pirates of Penzance) It’s hard to believe he’s gone. My condolences to his family. Patricia L Ritchie

  3. Eric Olson says:

    Tony and Jane were my neighbors for 7 years in California, you couldn’t ask for better people. I will forever remember his sense of humor and the distant sound of his piano as he played “I’ll Take Manhattan” Our hearts go out to Jane and his family.

  4. Bard says:

    I remember he was in a play off Broadway about artists the first time I was in New York. I wanted to see it but didn’t get around to it. He was a handsome sexy man and a terrific actor. I know he will be missed.

  5. Melissa Canaday says:

    Shocking news, and so sorry for his loss. Love and prayers go out to Jane. We love you, Jane.
    xo

  6. evelyn says:

    RIP TONY

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