Ronald Dennis, Broadway star of original ‘A Chorus Line,’ dead
Ronald Dennis, who starred in the original 1975 Broadway production of “A Chorus Line,” died Saturday at the age of 78.
Dennis, who was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1984, passed away after a lengthy battle with the illness, reports Deadline.
After his diagnosis, Dennis became a fierce advocate for AIDS Awareness and served on the Broadway Cares Advisory Council — a nonprofit organization that raises money for people in the arts — as well as serving as senior advisor for the Black Men’s HIV Medication Adherence Board at APLA/Project Rise.
Dennis is well known for his rendition of “Gimme a Ball” from “A Chorus Line” where his character talks about how he almost gave up his career as a dancer to be a teacher.
“We are saddened to hear about the passing of Ronald Dennis, the original Ritchie in A Chorus Line,” wrote “A Chorus Line” composer Marvin Hamlisch. “We’ll be high kicking and belting ‘Gimme That Ball’ today in his honor.”
Dennis also appeared in the touring production of “A Chorus Line” as well as “Pippin,” Bob Fosse’s “Dancin” and “La Cage Aux Follies.”
According to BroadwayWorld, memorials for Dennis are scheduled to be held in both Los Angeles and New York in the new year.
His representatives said they “would like to thank the many doctors and nurses who have cared for him over the years, but especially the entire staff at Canyon Trails who have given him such personal care over the past year.”
Dennis is survived by his brother George, as well as nieces, nephews and several friends. His family has requested that instead of flowers, they would like people donate to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids.
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