Roger Berlind, the extravagant and celebrated producer of such Broadway smashes as Dear Evan Hansen, The Book of Mormon, and Hello, Dolly has passed away at the age of 90.
According to Variety, Berlind passed away just days ago on December 18 in his Manhattan home of natural causes.
Roger Stuart Berlind came into this world on June 27, 1930 to proud parents Mae and Peter Sydney Berlind. The world he was born into on that summer day of 1930 was fraught and resplendent with true-life characters and events that were not at all uncommon in a play the future entertainer would one day go on to produce: It was a world where Earl Claus von Stauffenberg was promoted to a 2nd Lieutenant, where Southern California tromped on Pittsburgh by 47-11 at the 16th Rose Bowl and when the very first diesel engine automobile trip via a Packard was completed. All heady stuff and part and parcel of the fabric of the world a bouncing baby Roger Berlind was himself a thing of.
Catching the creative bug at an early age, Berlind first tried his hand at writing songs before taking an unlikely gig on Wall Street as an investment banker. Life, it turns out, had other plans for the diminutive gentleman: In 1975, his wife and three of his children were killed in a tragic plane crash. Clawing his way out of his own grief, Berlind found that he no longer had an appetite for the high-stakes game of Wall Street and, later in life than most, he finally turned his attention back to Broadway where he began to make a name for himself by producing plays and musicals on the Great White Way.
And what beautiful productions they were! From the recent revival of Oklahoma, to contemporary fare such as Mean Girls, Roger Berlind had his hand in it all (yes, even the rare dud such as The Merchant and Rex). Racking up an astonishing 25 Tony Award wins, this late bloomer will forever be remembered by a legion of fans for classics like Amadeus, City of Angels and Kiss Me, Kate.
Accolades and tributes from Broadway stalwarts and legends have already began pouring in, with Broadway thespian Betty Buckley saying in a statement that Berlind was “a lovely man and wonderful producer.”
Berlind is survived by his son William who joined his old man as a producer on Broadway, along with his wife of forty years, Brooke, two granddaughters and a brother.
Our condolences go out to the Berlind family during this difficult time.