Actor Thomas J. Aguilar, who appeared in “A Chorus Line” on Broadway and the West End, died May 7 from complications of AIDS. He was 41.
Aguilar died at his Honolulu home surrounded by family and friends, his publicist said. The Mendota, Calif., native had been diagnosed with HIV in 1988.
Aguilar was an actor, singer, dancer, director and choreographer; in 1976, he played Paul in the London and Broadway versions of “A Chorus Line,” one of the longest-running and most successful stage productions ever.
His work in the London production earned him the honor of being the only American to ever be nominated for the Plays & Players Award for most promising actor.
He also starred in the plays “Sing America Sing” and “Rockabye Hamlet,” appeared on the TV shows “A Different World,””Fame” and “One Day at a Time.” After “A Chorus Line” played in Hawaii, Aguilar moved to the islands.
In 1986, he formed the American Theatre Company Hawaii to help people make the jump from amateur to professional theater. The company helped many local actors win roles in the plays “Les Miserables” and “Miss Saigon.”
He directed more than 50 plays and musicals, and friends said it was this love of the theater that kept him going after he was diagnosed with HIV.
Aguilar announced in 1991 that he had AIDS and dedicated the remainder of his life to educating people about the disease.
He’s survived by his father John Aguilar Sr. and stepmother, Mercy; a sister, two half-sisters and three half-brothers.