Pamela Blair, the original actress who portrayed Val in the musical A Chorus Line, has passed away at the age of 73.
According to Deadline, she died at her home in Phoenix, Arizona, after battling a long illness.
Her death was reported by friends on social media, including her A Chorus Line co-star Baayork Lee. “I am very sad to say my Sagittarian sister Pam Blair has gone to play with her [A Chorus Line] colleagues among the clouds,” wrote Lee in a Facebook post.
Sharing a Dec. 5 birthday, the two actors “always wrote to one another no matter where we were on that day,” Lee said, recalling how Blair “brought the house down every night” with the show-stopping performance of ‘Dance: Ten, Looks: Three‘.
Blair’s performances on Broadway, starting with her debut in 1968’s Promises, Promises, earned her a reputation as a talented stage actress and dancer.
She played various ensemble roles in other Broadway productions like Sugar and Seesaw before landing the significant role of Curley’s wife in Of Mice and Men in 1974.
However, she became best known for her portrayal of Valerie Clarke, the original Val in A Chorus Line, a role she helped develop during workshops. Val’s character was loosely based on Blair’s life, with her love for plastic surgery inspired by another dancer. Blair’s iconic performance of ‘Dance: Ten, Looks: Three‘ in A Chorus Line earned her widespread recognition.
Apart from her professional achievements, Blair was married to actor and TV director Don Scardino in 1984, but they divorced in 1991.
Her passing was mourned by the official account of the late A Chorus Line composer, Marvin Hamlisch, who acknowledged her pivotal role in the musical since its early workshops.
“We are saddened to hear that Pamela Blair, the original “Val” in A Chorus Line, has passed away. The character was loosely based on her own life, and she was a part of the musical from the very first workshop. Our thoughts are with her loved ones and fans,” the tweet read.
Beyond her theatrical endeavors, Pamela Blair made appearances in TV shows like Ryan’s Hope, Loving, Another World, and Sabrina The Teenage Witch. Her talent was recognized with a Daytime Emmy nomination in 1987 for a guest appearance on All My Children.
Additionally, Blair’s film credits include works like Mighty Aphrodite, directed and written by Woody Allen, as well as Annie and 21 Grams.
Clearly, Blair’s contributions to the arts will be cherished by her loved ones and fans alike, and are thoughts and prayers go out to her family at this difficult time.
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