Michael McGrath, Tony-Winning ‘Spamalot’ Actor, Dies at 65

Michael McGrath, the Tony-winning actor known for his work in “Spamalot” and “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” has died at 65, according to multiple media reports.

McGrath died unexpectedly in his sleep on Thursday at his home in Bloomfield, New Jersey. A cause of death is yet to be determined.

McGrath was first nominated for a Tony for his run in the original version of “Spamalot.” Based on “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” the comedy mocks the Arthurian legend.

McGrath played the servant Patsy, who follows King Arthur (Tim Curry) around with two coconut shells he beats together to recreate the sound of horse hooves. McGrath’s turn in the role earned him a Best Featured Actor in a Musical nomination in 2005, though that particular award was ultimately won by Dan Fogler for “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”

McGrath would then go on to win his Tony in 2012 for “Nice Work If You Can Get It.” Set in the 1920s, the musical tells the story of wealthy playboy who meets a rough female bootlegger on the weekend of his wedding. Thinking he will be out of town, Billie the bootlegger and her gang hide their wares in his mansion. But when Jimmy the playboy unexpectedly returns with his entire family, chaos ensues. McGrath played the role of Cookie McGee, one of the three bootleggers. His performance beat out Michael Cerveris in “Evita” as well as Josh Young in “Jesus Christ Superstar” for the coveted award.

Over the course of his career, McGrath also originated the role of Mr. Simmons in “Memphis” and appeared in the musicals “Anything Goes,” “Wonderful Town,” “Is He Dead?” and “The Honeymooners.” He also worked as an ensemble member and understudy for several shows including “My Favorite Year,” “Swinging on a Star” and “Little Me” and starred in a pre-Broadway production of “Finding Neverland.”

On the television side of things, he was the announcer and sidekick on the short-lived “The Martin Short Show.”

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