Broadway Cats, Phantom of the Opera Star Linda Balgord Dies at 64 | Playbill

Obituaries Broadway Cats, Phantom of the Opera Star Linda Balgord Dies at 64

A frequent interpreter of Andrew Lloyd Webber's works, Ms. Balgord was Broadway's final Grizabella in the long-running musical's original run.

Linda Balgord

Stage star Linda Balgord died unexpectedly March 5 at the age of 64 in Naples, Florida. News of her passing was confirmed to Playbill by her husband, stage manager Andrew Fenton.

A native of New Lisbon, Wisconsin, Ms. Balgord attended Viterbo University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, performing throughout the Midwest before moving to New York City, where she soon found success in the commercial theatre world.

Her first job out of New York, the national tour of Aspects of Love, kicked off Ms. Balgord's decades-long association with composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. Ms. Balgord became a favorite interpreter of Lloyd Webber's work, starring as the final Grizabella in the original Broadway production of Cats, and as Madame Giry in The Phantom of the Opera. She also played both roles in national tours.

In 1996, Ms. Balgord was hand selected by Lloyd Webber to play Norma Desmond in the first national tour of Sunset Boulevard. Ms. Balgord was lauded for her performance as the silent film star, playing the role for the entirety of the tour's run.

Elsewhere on Broadway, Ms. Balgord understudied Fosca in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Passion, and stood by for Patti LuPone in the 2008 revival of Sondheim and Arthur Laurents' Gypsy. She starred as Madame Dindon in the 2004 Broadway revival of La Cage Aux Follies, and received a Drama Desk nomination for her performance as Queen Elizabeth I in The Pirate Queen.

Information on Ms. Balgord's funeral and a public memorial are forthcoming.

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