The entertainment world mourns the loss of acclaimed actor and singer Hinton Battle, who died at the age of 67 after a prolonged illness.
Known for originating the role of the scarecrow in Broadway’s The Wiz, Battle’s contributions to the stage and screen left an indelible mark on the industry.
Broadway Success and Tony Awards:
Hinton Battle made his Broadway debut in 1975 in the original production of The Wiz, a role later taken on by Michael Jackson in the film adaptation.
His illustrious career garnered him three Tony Awards in the featured actor in a musical category for his outstanding performances in Sophisticated Ladies (1981), The Tap Dance Kid (1984), and Miss Saigon (1991).
Battle’s versatility shone through as he portrayed Wayne in the 2006 movie musical Dreamgirls, earning critical acclaim and award nominations.
Tributes from Peers:
Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson paid tribute to Battle on social media, remembering him alongside fellow late Broadway star Chita Rivera.
Hudson expressed gratitude for their unique artistry and the impact they had on her life, emphasizing their irreplaceable contributions to Broadway.
Early Life and Ballet Background:
Born in Neubrücke, Hoppstädten-Weiersbach, West Germany, and raised in Washington, D.C., and New York City, Battle showed an early aptitude for dance.
His journey began at the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet, followed by a scholarship to The School of American Ballet, where he studied under the renowned George Balanchine.
Breakthrough in The Wiz and Broadway Starring Roles:
Debuting in The Wiz in 1975 at Broadway’s Majestic Theatre, Battle’s breakthrough set the stage for a remarkable career.
His starring roles on Broadway included Dancin’, Chicago (as Billy Flynn), and Ragtime (as Coalhouse Walker Jr.).
Notably, The Tap Dance Kid earned him the NAACP Award and the Fred Astaire Award.
Versatile Career in Film and TV:
Hinton Battle’s talents extended beyond Broadway, with notable appearances in Quantum Leap and Touched by an Angel.
A guest role as Sweet, the jazz demon, in Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s musical episode showcased his multifaceted abilities.
Choreography and Accolades:
Battle’s contributions as a choreographer enriched various productions, including The Golden Globe Awards and sitcoms like Sister, Sister.
He served as Associate Choreographer for the 65th and 66th Annual Academy Awards alongside Debbie Allen.
Legacy and Personal Achievements:
In 2014, Battle starred in the off-Broadway production Cindy: The Musical, adding to his diverse repertoire.
His brief singing career featured the song “Think We’re Gonna Make It,” included in the soundtrack of the 1986 movie Playing for Keeps.
Battle released a solo album, Untapped, in the same year.
Hinton Battle’s passing leaves a void in the entertainment industry, but his legacy as a Broadway icon, accomplished actor, and choreographer will endure.
As colleagues and fans remember his contributions, Battle’s impact on the world of performing arts remains a testament to his enduring talent.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn