Gary Beach, the Broadway actor who created the role of Lumiere in Disney’s Beauty and The Beast and won a Tony Award for his unforgettable turn as director Roger DeBris in Mel Brooks’ The Producers, died Tuesday in Palm Springs. He was 70.
His death was announced by his agent Steven Unger. No cause was given.
“I am the happiest boy in the fifth grade,” Beach said as he accepted the 2001 Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. He was nominated for the award two other times: In 1994 for Beauty and the Beast (same category) and 2001 as Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Albin in the revival of La Cage aux Folles.
“Gary Beach, an actor of consummate skill and artistry, was a glorious human being,” said The Baruch Frankel Routh Viertel Group, the producers of The Producers, “a gifted, generous and incredibly funny actor whose presence in a rehearsal room or on the stage lifted everyone’s spirit and inspired them to be the best they could be.
“His joyous, Tony Award winning performance as Roger DeBris will remain forever in our minds and hearts as the personification of the joyous spirit of Mel Brooks’ The Producers. We, along with all who knew him, are devastated by his passing and will remember him always.”
Beach’s other Broadway credits include Les Miserables (2006 revival), Annie, Doonesbury, The Moony Shapiro Songbook, Something’s Afoot and 1776. He toured nationally in Spamalot as King Arthur and in James’s Kirkwood’s Legends!, which starred Mary Martin and Carol Channing.
Beach survived by his husband, Jeffrey Barnett.