Broadway star Barbara Cook, known for her roles in musicals “The Music Man” and “She Loves Me,” has died. She was 89.
The performer died of respiratory failure at her home in Manhattan, New York, on Tuesday morning, her publicist Amanda Kaus confirmed to The Associated Press. Cook’s son, Adam LeGrant, also confirmed the news to The New York Post.
Cook, an Atlanta native, first appeared on Broadway in 1951 in “Flahooley,” and would go on to star in productions such as “Carousel” and “Plain and Fancy.” She originated the role of Marian the Librarian in “The Music Man,” a role for which she won a Tony Award in 1958.
In the ’70s, Cook took a step back from the Broadway stage and forged a new career as a concert and recording artist. In 1975, she made her concert debut at Carnegie Hall, and just a few years ago returned to that same stage to perform a celebratory 85th birthday concert.
Aside from her Tony Award for “The Music Man,” Cook also received plenty of other accolades throughout her career, including Grammy, Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards. Cook was also cited as a Living New York Landmark, and in 1994 was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. On top of that, the legendary performer was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2011.
“Barbara Cook has been said to have the most magnificent voice in popular music,” Barack Obama said of Cook at the ceremony. “Barbara’s greatest strength has always been her ability to put her own feelings and experiences into her songs.”
At the ceremony, a group of Cook’s fellow Broadway stars, including Sutton Foster, Laura Osnes and Patty LuPone, paid tribute to the star with a medley of songs from her productions.
Upon hearing of her death, members of the Broadway community and Hollywood shared their condolences online.