George Hearn

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George Hearn
Born (1934-06-18) June 18, 1934 (age 88)
Years active1960–present
Mary Harrell
(m. 1957; div. 1962)
Susan Babel
(m. 1965; div. 1973)
(m. 1977; div. 1979)
(m. 1979; div. 1984)
Leslie Simons
(m. 1985)

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

Early years[edit]

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 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 1997 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[edit]

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 currently resides in Essex, New York.



Year Title Role Notes
1989 See You in the Morning Martin
1992 Sneakers Gregor
1993 The Vanishing Arthur Bernard
1994 The Pagemaster Captain Ahab Voice
1996 All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 Red Voice
1997 The Devil's Own Peter Fitzsimmons
1998 Barney's Great Adventure Grandpa
2006 Flags of Our Fathers Elderly Walter Gust


Year Title Role Notes
1975 The Silence Captain Nichols TV movie
1976 The Adams Chronicles Henry Clay Miniseries
Sea Marks Colm Primrose TV movie
1979 Sanctuary of Fear Monsignor Kerrigan TV movie
1982 A Piano for Mrs. Cimino George Cimino TV movie
Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street Sweeney Todd TV movie
1990 The Young Riders Elijah Quinn Episode: "Blood Moon"
LA Law Dr. Westbrook Episode: "God Rest Ye Murray Gentlemen"
1991 Star Trek: The Next Generation Dr. Berel Episode: "First Contact"
The Golden Girls Guest Star Episode: "Henny Penny, Straight No Chaser"
Fire in the Dark Arthur TV movie
1992 Fish Police W.K. the Weenie King Voice, Episode: "Beauty's Only Fin Deep"
Murder She Wrote Elliott Von Stuben/ Sean Culhane 3 episodes
Tom & Jerry Kids Show Additional Voice Voice, Episode: "Penthouse Mouse/12 Angry Sheep/The Ant Attack"
1993 Jonny's Golden Quest President Voice, TV Movie
Cheers George Episode: "Rebecca Gaines, Rebecca Loses"
Captain Planet and the Planeteers Mr. Wheeler Voice, 2 episodes
Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron Professor Hackle Voice, TV Show
1994 Garfield and Friends Mr. Block Episode: "The Man Who Hated Cats/Deja Vu/Canned Laughter"
1995 Annie: A Royal Adventure! Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks TV movie
Daisy-Head Mayzie The Mayor Voice, TV Special
1999 Law & Order Independent Counsel William Dell Episode: "Sideshow"
Sarah Plain and Tall: Winter's End Dr. Hartley TV movie
2001 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Charles Southerland Episode: "Repression"
Sweeney Todd in Concert Sweeney Todd TV movie


Year Title Notes
1966 A Time for Singing
1968 Henry IV Part 1 Public Theater, Delacorte Theater[14]
1969 1776
1973 The Changing Room
1975 Hamlet
1977 An Almost Perfect Person[15]
1979 I Remember Mama
1980 Watch on the Rhine[16]
Sweeney Todd
1982 A Doll's Life
1983 La Cage aux Folles
1988 The Chosen[18]
Ah, Wilderness![19]
1989 Love Letters[20]
Meet Me in St. Louis
1992 Sweeney Todd Paper Mill Playhouse[21]
1994 Sunset Boulevard
1997 The Diary of Anne Frank
1999 Putting It Together
2000 Sweeney Todd Concert
2004 Wicked
2008 The Visit Signature Theatre, Arlington, VA
2011 Dracula
2012 Scandalous

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
1980 Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play Watch on the Rhine Nominated
1983 Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical A Doll's Life Nominated
CableACE Award Actor in a Theatrical or Musical Program Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Won
1984 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical La Cage aux Folles Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Won
1985 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Won
1986 Laurence Olivier Award Outstanding Performance of the Year by an Actor in a Musical La Cage aux Folles Nominated
1995 Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Sunset Boulevard Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Nominated
2000 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Putting It Together Nominated


  1. ^ a b c "George Hearn Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  2. ^ "Sweeney Todd: 1980 National Touring Production". Sondheim
  3. ^ "Hearn Listing" Internet Movie Database
  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
  7. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Wicked Welcomes Trio of New Stars July 20" Archived 2009-03-28 at the Wayback Machine, Playbill, July 20, 2004
  8. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Thompson, Shelley and Hearn Depart Broadway's Wicked May 29" Archived 2009-03-27 at the Wayback Machine, Playbill, May 29, 2005
  9. ^ Jones, Kenneth."The Visit, With Rivera, Hearn and Jacoby, Opens May 27" Archived 2008-12-05 at the Wayback Machine, Playbill, May 27, 2008
  10. ^ listing
  11. ^ Gans, Andrew."LuPone, Hearn, Wilson and the Late Wasserstein and Wilson Among Theater Hall of Fame Inductees" Archived 2009-03-28 at the Wayback Machine, Playbill, October 10, 2006
  12. ^ Bernstein, Fred. "HAVENS",The New York Times, October 13, 2006
  13. ^ Q&A with Hearn Archived 2008-12-06 at the Wayback Machine, September 12, 2004
  14. ^ Henry IV, Part 1, accessed June 26, 2016
  15. ^ "An Almost Perfect Person – Broadway Play – Original | IBDB". Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  16. ^ "Watch on the Rhine – Broadway Play – 1980 Revival | IBDB". Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  17. ^ "Whodunnit – Broadway Play – Original | IBDB". Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  18. ^ Gussow, Mel (1988-01-07). "Theater: 'The Chosen,' as a Musical". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  19. ^ Rich, Frank (1988-06-24). "Reviews/Theater; O'Neill's Idealistic 'Ah, Wilderness!'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  20. ^ Rothstein, Mervyn (1989-04-21). "Pairs of Actors Play Spin the Bottle In 'Love Letters'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  21. ^ Klein, Alvin (1992-11-15). "THEATER; 'Sweeney Todd,' in All Its Musical Power". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-10-26.

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