View gallery Image Credit: Diane Bondareff/AP/Shutterstock
Robert Lupone, the actor who played Dr. Bruce Cusamano, Tony Soprano’s neighbor, on HBO mega hit The Sopranos, died on Saturday, August 27. He was 76. Robert is the brother of actress Patti LuPone and an accomplished actor in his own right with a string of impressive credits. The theater he co-founded, MCC, broke the news via a heartbreaking Instagram post on August 27.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce that MCC founding Co-Artistic Director, Bob LuPone, passed away Saturday, Aug 27 after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer,” the post read, alongside photos of Robert at various stages in his career.
Here’s what to know about Robert LuPone, as fans mourn his passing and remember his life.
1. He has showbiz in his blood
Robert LuPone appears in New York on January 23, 2014. (Diane Bondareff/AP/Shutterstock)
According to his Wikipedia page, Robert has more than one familial connection to the stage. Aside from his younger sister, Patti, well known for her work in film, television, and theater, Robert’s great-great aunt was 19th-century Spanish-born Italian opera singer Adelina Patti.
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He was exceptionally close to his younger sister. Robert recalled dancing with her in a 1998 interview. “There was a tap dance that we did together, and I have her in a lift,” he reportedly told Playbill at the time. “That’s the picture. I’m wearing a white, fake silk [shirt] and white satin pants with tap shoes, and I think she’s wearing a dress with sequins and she had no front teeth.”
He also recalled how they became close again in adulthood. “I’m happy to say that we’ve truly worked through [any problems], and it’s so interesting to be so close again as we once were,” he told the publication. “What happened is a result of [Patti having] her own family and being a mother herself and both of us maturing and wanting to reconnect. The devotion we had as kids has been rekindled.”
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2. He was a talented dancer
Robert studied at the Julliard School with dance legend Martha Graham and Jose Limon, per his Wikipedia. And according to Patti, he had remarkable talent. “My brother Bobby was a dancer unparalleled,” Patti told Page Six on Monday, August 29. “And it all started when he saw me in a dance recital wearing a hula skirt. I was 4, he was 7.”
Patti told the outlet that there was a “life-sized picture” of Robert performing in Jose’s ballet, There is a Time, and she said she was proud to walk by it in the halls of Julliard, where she studied theater. “A few years later, as a student in the theater division, I would walk by it proudly as well as in awe,” she said.
Robert held a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance from the elite academy.
3. He was a husband and father
Robert was married to his wife, Virginia, at the time of his death, and also had one son, named Orlando, per the AP.
4. He was well known in live theater
Robert LuPone at the 66th Annual Theatre World Awards in New York on Jun 8, 2010. (Gregory Pace/BEI/Shutterstock)
According to Page Six, it didn’t take long after graduating in 1968 for Robert to land a major role as Zach in Broadway’s iconic A Chorus Line. He received a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. He also appeared in A Thousand Clowns, A View From The Bridge, The Magic Show, Late Night Comic, and Saint Joan.
With his MCC Theater in New York, he produced Reasons to be Pretty and Frozen. Off-Broadway, he appeared in Lennon and Twelfth Night, among others. Per his Wikipedia page, he was also director of the MFA Drama Program at The New School for Drama, up until 2011.
5. He had an impressive list of television credits.
Robert LuPone appeared in an impressive list of television shows, and also has credits in film. Aside from his memorable role on The Sopranos, he also appeared on soap operas All My Children and Guiding Light, as well as primetime dramas like Gossip Girl and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. His cable network appearances included Billions, The Affair, and The Sopranos.