Robert Bob LuPone, Actor and MCC Theatre Founder, Dies at 76: Cause of Death Explained

Robert “Bob” LuPone, the co-founder of the off-Broadway company MCC Theater and famed actor, passed away this Saturday. He was 76 years old. Bob was the brother of actress Patti LuPone. Read on to know how did Robert LuPone die and the cause of his death.

Bob had earned a best-featured actor Tony nomination in the original run of “A Chorus Line.” He was initially cast Al in A Chorus Line. However, he convinced the creator and director Michael Bennett to let him play Zach after the original actor left.

How did Robert LuPone die?

Robert LuPone died on Saturday, August 27, 2022, after having a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. The MCC Theater confirmed the sorrow-filled news of LuPone’s death in a statement on the same day to the Associated Press.

“The MCC Theater community mourns the loss of our much loved and uniquely inspiring partner, colleague, and dear friend, Bob LuPone, who lived fearlessly and with great curiosity, good humor, a boundless passion for connection, and a whole lot of heart. We will miss him deeply and always,” the statement reads.

Bob LuPone Dead: What was the cause of his death?

LuPone passed away due to pancreatic cancer, a type of cancer that spreads in the cells of the pancreas and is usually fatal. This type of cancer is often detected late and has a poor prognosis.

It spreads rapidly and there are no symptoms in the early stages. The later stages have symptoms but these can be non-specific like lack of appetite and weight loss. LuPone’s cancer was diagnosed in 2019.

Robert “Bob” LuPone Early Life and Career

Robert LuPone, popularly known as Bob LuPone, was born on July 29, 1946, in Brooklyn, New York. His father Orlando Joseph LuPone was a school principal and his mother Angela Louise was a housewife. His sister Patti LuPone grew up to be an actress.

He went to the North Port, Long Island elementary school and his passion for the arts began at a very early age. In the sixth grade, he saw Patti dance at a PTA Dance Concert in a colorful hula skirt and asked his mother to wear that skirt. Following this, he got enrolled in a dance class.

In 1968, LuPone graduated from The Juilliard School with a bachelor’s degree in dance. He was also enrolled in the Martha Graham Studio where he studied under Antony Tudor, José Limor, and Graham herself.

LuPone landed his first job as part of the ensemble of The Pajama Game starring Liza Minnelli in 1966. His Broadway debut happened in 1968 in Noel Coward’s Sweet Potato. He later appeared in Minnie’s Boys, The Rothschilds, and The Magic Show.

LuPone founded MCC with Bernie Telsey and Will Cantler

LuPone was teaching an acting class at New York University when one of his students was Bernie Telsey. Together, they helped form the Manhattan Class Company in 1986, which is known as the MCC Theater today.

LuPone, Telsey, and the third co-artistic direct Will Cantler shaped it into a theatrical powerhouse. It produced majestic pieces like Frozen, Reasons to be Pretty, Hand to God, School Girls; the African Mean Girls Play, The Snow Geese, The Other Place, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Wit.

LuPone also worked as an actor while serving as co-artistic director of MCC. He appeared in A View from the Bridge, True West, and A Thousand Clowns. He was also in the Chicago premiere of Sam Shepard’s The Tooth of Crime.

On TV, he was in The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Guiding Light, and All My Children. He also received a Daytime Emmy nomination for the same. From 2005 to 2011, he served as director of the MFA drama program at the New School for Drama and served as president of the board of directors of A.R.T New York.

Tributes coming in for Bob LuPone

LuPone is survived by his wife, Virginia; his son, Orlando; his sister, Patti; and his brother, William

Fans and friends have been paying tribute to the late actor and director ever since the news of his passing emerged.

“Heartbreaking news about Bob LuPone. I’ve worked on and off for MCC since 2015 and though our paths and departments only crossed every now and then, he was always a warm and invigorating presence in the space. A giant of American theater” wrote Andrew Clark.

“My heart is with
and with all of Bob’s family and friends. 🙏
Bob LuPone, who helped lead MCC Theater, has died at 76” wrote Jude Camwell.

Our deepest condolences go out to his friends, family, and loved ones. May God let the departed soul rest in peace.