Actor-singer-writer Ron Taylor, Tony-nommed co-originator, co-writer and star of “It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues” and the original voice of Audrey II, the killer plant in Broadway’s “Little Shop of Horrors,” died Wednesday Jan. 15, apparently of cardiac arrest, in Los Angeles. His exact age was not available.
Controversy erupted when his “Blues” performance for the Tony kudocast was cut at the last minute from the Broadcast due to time constraints. The 1999 musical received four Tony noms, including best actor in a musical, best musical and best book for a musical. It also earned three Drama Desk noms, a Drama League Award and other praise.
Galveston, Texas, native received the Drama Desk award for his 1982 role in “Little Shop of Horrors.”
TV credits include “City of Angels,” “Ally McBeal,” “NYPD Blue, “The Profiler,” “Deep Space Nine,” “Family Matters” and as “Bleeding Gums” Murphy for “The Simpsons.”
Among his 20 movie roles were ones in “Trading Places,” “A Rage in Harlem” and “The Mighty Quinn.”
As a vocalist, he performed with Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Sheila E., Etta James and many others; two of the records went platinum. His blues band the Nervis Bros, played nationwide and most recently performed regularly at the Blue Café in Long Beach.
He also taught at-risk youth at the George Street Playhouse in New Jersey and through church work.
Survivors include actress-wife DeBorah Sharpe-Taylor (they met while both were touring with the first national company of “The Wiz”; a teen-age son; his parents; and two sisters.
Services are planned for Monday Jan. 28 at 11 a.m. at the New Christ Memorial Church of God and Christ, 13333 Vaughn St. in San Fernando, with viewing Saturday and Sunday at Angelus Funeral Home, 3875 S. Crenshaw Blvd., L.A.
Donations may be made to the Adamah Taylor Education Fund, c/o law firm Ivie, McNeil & Wyatt, 201 N. Figueroa St. #1150, Los Angeles CA 90012.