×

Daniel Massey dead at 64

Oscar-nominated actor, son of Raymond Massey

Daniel Massey, Oscar-nominated actor who scored his biggest successes on the London and Broadway stages and who was a member of a distinguished theatrical family, died March 25 in a London hospital after a long illness. He was 64.

Massey had returned to the stage in 1995 after a battle with Hodgkin’s disease.

A tall and slender actor, he was famous for his deep, mellifluous voice, which he used in such musicals the Broadway bow of “She Loves Me” and on the West End in Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies.”

He also won critical praise for serious and demanding stage roles, such as his acclaimed London portrayal of German conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler in the 1995 Ronald Harwood play “Taking Sides,” which he reprised the following year on Broadway.

In film, he was nominated for a supporting actor nod for the 1968 “Star!” opposite Julie Andrews as Gertrude Lawrence. In the film, for which he won a Golden Globe, Massey did an impeccable impersonation of Noel Coward — who in real life was his godfather.

Massey was the son of Canadian actor Raymond Massey and British stage star Adrianne Allen. His younger sister, Anna Massey, is one of Britain’s most respected actors.

His parents split up when he was 6. His father went to Hollywood, where he became a success playing young Abe Lincoln and many other roles, finally ending as a television star in “Doctor Kildare.”

Daniel Massey rarely saw his father, remaining in England. The family lived on a country estate where his mother, a London star of the 1930s, entertained many famous friends, including Coward.

Massey was educated at Eton and at King’s College, Cambridge and joined the Scots Guards, but acting was his main ambition. “There was nothing else I wanted to do with my life,” he once said.

The actor suffered from depression for many years, and after long sessions of Jungian analysis, publicly blamed his strained relationship with his late mother.

Massey married actress Adrienne Corri in 1961, and the marriage ended after six years. His second marriage, in 1975, was to actress Penelope Wilton.

After they divorced in 1984, Massey married his ex-wife’s sister, Lindy Wilton — a situation Penelope Wilton accepted “with great grace and style,” he said.

He is survived by a son, Paul, and a daughter, Alice.

More Legit

  • Because of Winn Dixie review

    Regional Theater Review: 'Because of Winn Dixie,' the Musical

    Watching the musical “Because of Winn Dixie” at Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, Conn., it’s hard not to think of another show that premiered in the same regional theater 43 years ago. It, too, featured a scruffy stray dog, a lonely-but-enterprising young girl and a closed-off daddy who finally opens up. But “Winn Dixie,” based [...]

  • MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOWby

    Off Broadway Review: 'Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow'

    There’s something about Anton Chekhov’s whiny sisters that invites comic sendups of “Three Sisters” like the one Halley Feiffer wrote on commission for the Williamstown Theater Festival. Transferred to MCC Theater’s new Off Broadway space and playing in the round in a black box with limited seating capacity, the crafty show feels intimate and familiar. [...]

  • the way she spoke review

    Off Broadway Review: 'The Way She Spoke' With Kate del Castillo

    Since the 1990s, scores of women in Juarez, Mexico have been mutilated, raped, and murdered at such a rate that some have called it an epidemic of femicide—killing women and girls solely because they are women. Isaac Gomez’s play “the way she spoke,” produced Off Broadway by Audible and starring Kate del Castillo, confronts the [...]

  • HBO's 'SUCCESSION

    Brian Cox Playing LBJ in Broadway Run of 'The Great Society'

    Brian Cox will play President Lyndon Johnson in the Broadway run of “The Great Society,” playwright Robert Schenkkan’s follow-up to “All the Way.” The role of Johnson, a crude, but visionary politician who used the office of the presidency to pass landmark civil rights legislation and social programs, was originally played by Bryan Cranston in [...]

  • Paul McCartney Has Penned Score for

    Paul McCartney Has Been Secretly Writing an 'It's a Wonderful Life' Musical

    The pop superstar who once released a movie and album called “Give My Regards to Broad Street” really does have designs on Broadway, after all. It was revealed Wednesday that Paul McCartney has already written a song score for a stage musical adaptation of the 1946 Frank Capra film classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The [...]

  • The Night of the Iguana review

    West End Review: 'The Night of the Iguana' With Clive Owen

    If Tennessee Williams is the poet laureate of lost souls, none of his characters as are off-grid as the restless travelers trying to make it through his little-seen 1961 play, “The Night of the Iguana.” Holed up in a remote Mexican homestay, its ragtag itinerants live hand-to-mouth, day by day, as they seek refuge from [...]

  • Moulin Rouge Broadway

    Listen: The Special Sauce in Broadway's 'Moulin Rouge!'

    There are songs in the new Broadway version of “Moulin Rouge!” that weren’t in Baz Luhrmann’s hit movie — but you probably know them anyway. They’re popular tunes by superstars like Beyoncé, Adele and Rihanna, released after the 2001 movie came out, and they’ll probably unleash a flood of memories and associations in every audience [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content