NEW YORK – Michael McGrath, a Broadway character actor who shined in zany, feel-good musicals and won a Tony Award for “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” has died. He was 65.
McGrath died Thursday at his home in Bloomfield, New Jersey, said his publicist, Lisa Goldberg. No other details were announced.
“Michael McGrath was as wonderful offstage as he was on,” wrote Michael Urie in tribute. “Adorable, mischievous, brilliant. His loss cuts deep, but I will continue to take everything he taught me wherever I go.”
McGrath was in over a dozen Broadway shows including “Plaza Suite,” “She Loves Me,” “Tootsie" and “Spamalot” as well as on television as the sidekick to Martin Short on “The Martin Short Show.”
“Very saddened to hear that Michael McGrath our first and most beloved Patsy in ‘Spamalot,’ has passed away,” wrote Monty Python member Eric Idle. “Warm hugs to all the ‘Spamalot’ family and very happy memories of a lovely man.”
In 2012, McGrath won the Tony for best actor in a featured musical role playing wise guy Cookie McGee in “Nice Work If You Can Get It” starring Matthew Broderick and Kelli O’Hara.
He also played a hard-boiled radio station owner in “Memphis” and showed fine vaudevillian chops in “On the Twentieth Century” singing “Five Zeros,” an ode to the joys of money.
In a 2007 review of “Follies” at City Center, The Associated Press said McGrath "exudes a pugnacious, good-time Charlie conviviality that also hides insecurities. The actor also moves with the confidence of a born hoofer, particularly in his ″'The God-Why-Don’t-You-Love-Me Blues.'″
He is survived by his wife of 30 years, actor Toni Di Buono and a daughter, actor Katie Claire McGrath.