SEATTLE, WA (CelebrityAccess) — Tony-winning actor, dancer, and choreographer Ann Reinking died on Saturday. She was 71.
“The world and our family have lost a vibrant, amazing talent and beautiful soul. Ann was the heart of our family and the life of the party,” her family said in a statement provided to Variety.
“She was visiting our brother in Washington state when she went to sleep and never woke up. We will miss her more than we can say. Heaven has the best choreographer available now. I’m sure they are dancing up a storm up there! Annie, we will love and miss you always!!!”
Born in Seattle, Reinking began studying ballet at an early age and by middle school, she was studying with the San Francisco ballet during summer programs. She made her professional debut at the age of 12 in a production of Giselle with the English Royal Ballet.
At 18, she relocated to New York and secured a position as a member of the corps de ballet at the Radio City Music Hall.
She made her Broadway debut in the musical Cabaret in 1966 and followed with roles in productions such as Pippin, A Chorus Line, and Goodtime Charley where her portrayal of Joan of Arc earned her the 1975 Tony for Best Actress in a Musical.
She was best known for her portrayal of Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago, stepping into the role following the departure of Gwen Verdon in 1975 and later reprising the role in the 1996 revival.
In addition to her work on stage, Reinking appeared on the silver screen, including in All That Jazz (1979), Annie (1982), and Micki & Maude (1984).
In 1998, she co-created, co-directed and co-choreographed the revue Fosse, receiving a Tony Award co-nomination for Best Direction of a Musical.