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George Hearn

For those of a similar name, see George Hearne (disambiguation). For the Louisiana psychologist, see George E. Hearn. For the Australian bishop, see George Hearn (bishop).
George Hearn
Born (1934-06-18) June 18, 1934 (age 81)
St. Louis, Missouri, US
Occupation Actor
Spouse(s) Susan Babel
Mary Harrell (div. 1962)
Dixie Carter (1977-1979)
Betsy Joslyn (1979-1984)
Leslie Simons (1985-present)

George Hearn (born June 18, 1934) is an American actor and singer, primarily in Broadway musical theatre.

Early years

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Hearn studied philosophy at Southwestern at Memphis, now Rhodes College before he embarked on a career in the theater, training for the stage with actress turned acting coach Irene Dailey. Most of Hearn's early performances were in traditional productions at the New York Shakespeare Festival and theaters at Lincoln Center.[1]


Hearn's career began in 1963 when he played Sir Dinidan in a national tour of Camelot with Biff McGuire and Jeannie Carson, standing by for McGuire, who played King Arthur. He first garnered a notice as John Dickinson in the acclaimed 1969 musical 1776 and as Liv Ullmann's leading man in the musical version of I Remember Mama (1979).[1]

On March 4, 1980 he replaced Len Cariou in the title role of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd opposite Dorothy Loudon. Later in 1980 Hearn and the show's original star, Angela Lansbury, headed the show's touring company, then reprised their roles for a Showtime production of the musical, which won him an Emmy Award for his portrayal.[2][3]

In 1983 Hearn created the role of Albin in the original Broadway production of La Cage aux Folles written by Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman. Hearn originated the gay anthem "I Am What I Am".[4] He won the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics' Circle Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Albin. Hearn also appeared in the West End production (which opened in May 1986).

In 1985, Hearn starred as Long John Silver in an Edmonton production of Pieces of Eight, a musical adaptation of Treasure Island. Despite its credentials, including composer Jule Styne, it never was staged again.[5]

Hearn and Lansbury remained friends, and the actress invited him to guest star on several episodes of her long-running CBS sleuth series Murder, She Wrote in the early 1990s.[6]

He won a second Tony award for his role as Max Von Mayerling in the original Broadway production of Sunset Boulevard, and was nominated again for playing Otto Frank in the 2000 revival of The Diary of Anne Frank.

On July 20, 2004, Hearn returned to Broadway for the first time in four years, starring as the Wizard in the Broadway musical Wicked, remaining until May 29, 2005.[7][8] Hearn later returned to the musical for a limited two-week engagement from January 17 through February 1, 2006.

In 2008 he starred in a production of The Visit by John Kander and Fred Ebb alongside Chita Rivera at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia. The Visit opened to positive reviews on May 13, 2008 and closed June 22, 2008.[9]

Hearn's recordings include Sunset Boulevard (1994 Los Angeles Cast, and later the Broadway Cast Recording), Sweeney Todd Live at the New York Philharmonic, Mack & Mabel (1988 London Concert Cast), I Remember Mama (1985 Studio Cast), Follies in Concert (1985 Live Performance), and A Stephen Sondheim Evening (1983 Concert Cast).[10]

Hearn was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame on January 29, 2007.[11]

Personal life

Hearn's spouses include Susan Babel, Mary Harrell, with whom he had one son; Dixie Carter (1977–1979), girlfriend Betsy Joslyn (1979–1984), and current wife Leslie Simons. Hearn and Simons have two sons.[1][12][13] He is currently residing in Essex, New York.


Awards and nominations

  • 1983 CableACE Award for Best Actor in a Theatrical or Musical Program - Sweeney Todd
  • 1984 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical - La Cage aux Folles
  • 1984 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical - La Cage aux Folles
  • 1985 Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program - Sweeney Todd
  • 1995 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical - Sunset Boulevard
  • 1980 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play - Watch on the Rhine
  • 1983 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical - A Doll's Life
  • 1995 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical - Sunset Boulevard
  • 2000 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical - Putting It Together


  1. ^ a b c "George Hearn Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  2. ^ "'Sweeney Todd' Listing"
  3. ^ "Hearn Listing" Internet Movie Database listing
  4. ^ Rich, Frank. "Stage: The Musical 'Cage Aux Folles'"The New York Times, August 22, 1983
  5. ^ Q&A Ken Mandelbaum, February 28, 2005
  6. ^ "Hearn Listing" Internet Movie Database listing
  7. ^ Gans, Andrew."Wicked Welcomes Trio of New Stars July 20",, July 20, 2004
  8. ^ Gans, Andrew."Thompson, Shelley and Hearn Depart Broadway's Wicked May 29",, May 29, 2005
  9. ^ Jones, Kenneth."The Visit, With Rivera, Hearn and Jacoby, Opens May 27",, May 27, 2008
  10. ^ listing
  11. ^ Gans, Andrew."LuPone, Hearn, Wilson and the Late Wasserstein and Wilson Among Theater Hall of Fame Inductees",, October 10, 2006
  12. ^ Bernstein, Fred."HAVENS",New York Times, October 13, 2006
  13. ^ Q&A with Hearn, September 12, 2004

External links