Actor John Deyle, a familiar face on Broadway and a prolific television commercial actor, passed away June 22 of esophageal cancer. He was 68.
Born and raised in Rochester, New York, Mr. Deyle studied at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts before receiving his big break in 1978. While auditioning for the Richard Rodgers and Martin Charnin musical I Remember Mama, Charnin pulled him aside to instead cast him in the original Broadway production of Annie. A member of the third-year cast, which featured Sarah Jessica Parker in the title role, Mr. Deyle played Louis Howe, Fred McCracken, and Bert Healy.
Elsewhere on Broadway, he understudied Sir Lionel in the 1980 revival of Camelot, appeared in the original Broadway company of Footloose, and portrayed Senator Fipp in Urinetown, one of the only performers to remain with the satirical production for the entirety of its Broadway run. On tour, Mr. Deyle played Bert Bratt in the 1996 production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and he appeared in three different tours of Camelot in various roles, including Forest Merlyn. Off-Broadway he starred as Frankie Cavalier in Pageant, and as Hucklebee in the 2006 revival of The Fantasticks.
Mr. Deyle considered his "bread and butter" to be television commercials, however. He was a prolific spokesman, appearing in more than 100 commercials for everything from Skippy Peanut Butter to Just for Men Hair Color. Elsewhere on television, he played the recurring role of Mr. Science on the first season of Late Night With Conan O’Brien, and appeared on Law and Order, Law and Order: SVU, One Life to Live, and All My Children.
Mr. Deyle is survived by his wife of 32 years, Rebecca, their son, Oleg, and his sister Kathryn, as well as an extended family. Services will be private.