The Lion King and In the Heights Star Clifton Oliver Dies at 47 | Playbill

Obituaries The Lion King and In the Heights Star Clifton Oliver Dies at 47

Oliver notably played Benny in the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical opposite Jordin Sparks.

Broadway actor Clifton Oliver has passed away at the age of 47. The performer, best known for his roles in The Lion King and In the Heights, had been recently battling illness, though further details are not available at this time. He died August 2. His death was announced by his sister Roxy Hall in a Facebook post.

"He went twirling into the afterlife ready to make his grand appearance as the star of his homecoming celebration," Hall wrote. "His partner Richard, was singing to him the song Psalm 23 as he took his last breath this morning at 3:20 AM. He had a gorgeous smile on his beautiful face. My heart is sad, and overjoyed at the same time! I will miss him, but he is finally at peace!"

Oliver was born December 3, 1975. Hailing from Jacksonville, Florida, Oliver attended the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts before moving to New York City in 2010 to start his career on Broadway, where he joined the ensemble of Wicked and served as an understudy for Fiyero. He also played the role of Benny in In the Heights alongside Jordin Sparks. Oliver also opened the Las Vegas production of The Lion King as Simba, a role he later played in the national tour and finally on Broadway in 2011.

Oliver performed in several Off-Broadway productions, including Miracle Brothers and Bella: An American Tall Tale. He was a cast member in the national tours of Dreamgirls and Motown the Musical. Oliver also performed in New York City Center's Encores! production of The Wild Party in 2015.

"He impacted the lives of people throughout the world as he showcased his amazing talent, kind soul, and loving spirit to EVERYONE he met!" wrote Hall, who then quoted one of the songs from The Lion King, "He Lives In You," saying about her brother, "He will be missed, but never forgotten! He lives within all of us!" Hall also indicated that there will be a celebration of Oliver's life at a later date.

Oliver is survived by his partner Richard, his sister Roxy Hall, and his brothers Eddie Oliver and Johnathan Oliver.

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