NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — Playwright, actor, composer, and director James Alexander Radomski, known professionally as James Rado, who co-created the iconic Broadway musical “Hair” has died. He was 90.
His passing was confirmed by Rado’s longtime friend, publicist Merle Frimark, who said he died in a hospital in New York after suffering a cardio-respiratory arrest.
A native of Los Angeles but raised in the Northeastern U.S., Rado attended the University of Maryland and then after a two year hitch in the United States Navy, attended graduate school at the Catholic University of America.
After graduating, he moved to New York City where he studied acting with the legendary Lee Strasberg and recorded and performed with his own band, James Alexander and the Argyles.
In 1963, he debuted his first Broadway show, Marathon ’33, and appeared in the original Broadway production of The Lion in Winter by James Goldman.
He began working on “Hair” in 1964 with Gerome Ragni, who he met while acting in the off-Broadway play Hang Down Your Head and Die.
“Hair” made its off-Broadway debut in October 1967 and opened on Broadway six months later to critical acclaim and commercial success. The show would go on to run for 1,750 performances, while spawning simultaneous productions across the U.S. and Europe, including a show in London that ran for 1,997 performances.
Rado remained active in developing new productions of Hair, including touring productions, including the 1994 national tour, which traveled to 11 cities in the U.S.
In addition to “Hair,” Rado co-wrote the musical The Rainbow Rainbeam Radio Roadshow (AKA Rainbow), a loose sequel to “Hair” based on a book by his brother Ted Rado. The show received a warm reception from critics and has been reprised in various forms multiple times since its debut.
In 1974, Rado reunited with his writing partner Gerome Ragni to write “Sun” a musical with music by Steve Margoshes.