Luker tweeted in February that she had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as A.L.S. and Lou Gehrig’s disease, vowing “to fight and go forward.” Luker’s husband, fellow stage actor Danny Burstein, revealed in the summer that both he and Luker contracted COVID-19, leaving him hospitalized for several days and then ultimately left to care for Luker alone.
Luker “embodied the essence of the Broadway musical ingénue,” The Times wrote.
“Rebecca Luker was one of the most beautiful voices on Broadway and a lovely person,” actor Bernadette Peters wrote on Twitter.
The Alabama native made her Broadway debut as Christine in “The Phantom of the Opera” serving first as an understudy for Sarah Brightman before eventually assuming the lead. Luker left the show in 1991.
In 1995, she received her first Tony nod as Magnolia Hawks in a revival of “Show Boat” and followed that with a 2000 nomination for playing Marian Paroo in a revival of “The Music Man” and one in 2007 as Winifred Banks in the original cast of the “Mary Poppins” musical.
Luker also appeared on TV’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “The Good Wife” and “Boardwalk Empire,” according to IMDb.
“The Sound of Music” star’s last stage appearance was 2019 playing the preacher’s wife in “Footloose” at the Kennedy Center, Vulture noted.
Tributes poured in.