Veteran Stage Actor Michael McGrath Has Died at the Age of 65

On Sept. 14, 2023, Tony Award-winning actor Michael McGrath passed away at the age of 65. Here's what we know about his cause of death.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Sep. 15 2023, Published 12:08 p.m. ET

Michael McGrath in a suit
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • Tony Award-winning actor Michael McGrath, best known for his role in Spamalot, passed away at the age of 65.
  • A cause of death has yet to be determined.
  • He is survived by his wife Toni Di Buono and daughter, actor Katie Claire McGrath.
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Actor Michael McGrath famously sang, "Always look on the bright side of life," in the musical adaptation of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Retitled Spamalot, it took Broadway by storm and McGrath was brilliant and hilarious in the role originally played by Eric Idle.

Sadly, Eric was the bearer of bad news when he announced on Twitter that his dear friend passed away. Here's what we know about the revered actor's cause of death.

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Michael McGrath's cause of death has yet to be revealed.

Michael's publicist told the The Hollywood Reporter the 65-year-old "died unexpectedly in his sleep Thursday at his home in Bloomfield, New Jersey." As of the time of this writing, a cause of death has yet to be revealed. "Very saddened to hear that Michael McGrath our first and most beloved Patsy in Spamalot, has passed away," wrote Eric in his tweet. "Warm hugs to all the Spamalot family and very happy memories of a lovely man."

Opening night of 'Spamalot' with Michael McGrath and Christian Borle
Source: Getty Images

(L-R): Michael McGrath and Christian Borle, opening night of Spamalot

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Condolences were shared all over social media from friends, colleagues, and fans. Howard Sherman, director of the Baruch Performing Arts Center, tweeted, "Shocked and saddened by the news that Michael McGrath is gone. On stage, he was always spot-on, effortlessly perfect, and expertly hilarious — as he was off-stage as well."

OnStage Blog founder Chris Peterson texted a friend who worked with Michael to share the heartbreaking news. The response was lovely. "He was the type of actor you wanted to share the stage with. You wanted to be in green rooms, backstage, dinners, rehearsals with him. He had that type of energy. And his stories! Legendary."

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Michael McGrath was an accomplished performer.

It's no wonder Michael's talent was seemingly endless and utterly extraordinary. Born and raised in Worcester, Mass., he would go on to attend the Boston Conservatory but left to pursue acting. Such was the strength of his aptitude and desire. It seems as if musical comedies were always in his future, as Michael got his start in "Gerard Alessandrini’s musical comedy Forbidden Broadway." It was there he met his wife, Toni Di Buono.

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In a 2014 interview with Boston Irish, Michael talked about being a working actor in New York, which can be difficult for some. "Any actor will tell you it’s a blessing, as much as some may complain," he shared. "To have a long run, and know you have a place to go every night, and you’re in a hit ... it’s definitely a blessing."

Michael was definitely blessed. He would go on to work in several successful stage shows such as My Favorite Year, The Goodbye Girl, Swinging on a Star, and a revival of Neil Simon’s Little Me. In 2012, he took home a Tony Award for his version of Cookie McGee in Nice Work If You Can Get It.

When Boston Irish's R.J. Donovan asked Michael about his life, his answer was certainly sitting on the bright side of it. "At the end of the day, it’s a damned good life." He is survived by his wife and daughter, actor Katie Claire McGrath.

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