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Michael McGrath, Tony award-winning “Spamalot” actor, dies at 65

Michael McGrath, Tony award-winning “Spamalot” actor, dies at 65

Michael McGrath, the Tony award-winning actor best known for originating the role of Patsy in Spamalot on Broadway, has died. He was 65.

McGrath died at his home in Bloomfield, N.J., on Thursday, a representative confirmed to EW. A cause of death was not revealed. In a statement, they described the veteran theater actor as "a Red Sox fanatic, bourbon connoisseur, devoted husband and father and friend to anyone who met him."

A native of Worchester, Mass., McGrath made his Broadway debut in 1992 as part of the ensemble in the hit musical My Favorite Year. He would go on to star in more than a dozen different on-and-off Broadway productions over the course of his 30-year stage career, including The Goodbye Girl, Wonderful Town, Memphis, Tootsie, and, most recently, Plaza Suite alongside Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.

Michael McGrath poses in the 66th Annual Tony Awards press room at The Beacon Theatre on June 10, 2012 in New York City.
Michael McGrath poses in the 66th Annual Tony Awards press room at The Beacon Theatre on June 10, 2012 in New York City.

Kempin/WireImage for Tony Award Productions Michael McGrath

However, it was his turn as Spamalot's Patsy — plus his two additional roles as the Mayor of Finland and as a Guard — that earned McGrath his first-ever Tony nomination in 2005. He wouldn't take home the prestigious award, however, until seven years later, when he won big for his performance as the wise-cracking bootlegger Cookie McGee in the musical Nice Work If You Can Get It in 2012.

In addition to his stage work, McGrath also appeared in several films — including 2002's Changing Lanes, 2005's The Interpreter, and 2009's The Secret of the Kells — and television projects such as The Martin Short Show. He also won a Drama Desk Award (plus two additional nominations), an Outer Critics Circle Award, and a Theatre World Award.

Following the news of his death, fellow Broadway stars, including Patti Murin and Spamalot writer Eric Idle, shared their own tributes in honor of McGrath on social media.

"Very saddened to hear that Michael McGrath our first and most beloved Patsy in Spamalot, has passed away," Idle wrote. "Warm hugs to all the Spamalot family and very happy memories of a lovely man."

Murin, who starred opposite McGrath in a production of Little Shop of Horrors, wrote that she was "absolutely devastated" by the news.

"Our time at Little Shop at the MUNY was short, but working with him was like packing 20 years worth of joy into a few short weeks," she recalled in an Instagram post. "Always smiling, always asking about my family, always in dad mode, even to us fully grown adults."

Alongside her caption, Murin shared a snapshot of McGrath holding her daughter, Lorelai. "Here he's holding Lorelai so I could do a radio interview," she explained of the image, "and I remember saying, 'This baby has no idea how lucky she is!' as he crooned her a lullaby."

Murin concluded, "Anyone who has ever exchanged so much as a hello with Michael is incredibly fortunate, and I can't believe I'll never be able to see him smile again."

McGrath is survived by his wife, actress Toni Di Buono, whom he was married to for 30 years, and his daughter Katie Claire McGrath.

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