Reid Shelton, the thespian who originated the role of Daddy Warbucks in the Broadway production of “Annie,” died June 8 in Portland, Ore., of a stroke. He was 72.
When “Annie” premiered at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Conn., Shelton assayed the role of Warbucks with a head of hair.
Shelton, however, shaved his head for the New York production in 1977, which established a standard for actors who followed him in the role.
A native of Salem, Ore., Shelton was educated at Williamette U. and the U. of Michigan.
He made his Broadway debut in 1952 in the Harold Rome musical “Wish You Were Here.”
Additional Broadway credits included such shows as “Wonderful Town,” “By the Beautiful Sea,” “The Saint of Bleecker Street,” “My Fair Lady,” “Oh! What a Lovely War!,” “Canterbury Tales,” “The Rothschilds” and “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”
Shelton appeared in “My Fair Lady” for eight years, beginning in the chorus and eventually rising to the role of Freddy Eynsford-Hill, the young man in love with Eliza Doolittle.
Shelton’s numerous TV credits included six seasons as Coach Ernie Donardo on the HBO series “First and Ten.” He also appeared on numerous TV series, including “Remington Steele,” “Cheers,” “Knight Riders” and “Three’s Company.”
Shelton is survived by his companion, Donovan Baker.