Hinton Battle Dies: Broadway’s Original ‘The Wiz’ Scarecrow Was 67

Hinton Battle, a three-time Tony Award winning actor who originated the role of Scarecrow in Broadway’s The Wiz, died yesterday. He was 67.

His death was confirmed by his friend, the actor and choreographer Debbie Allen. A cause was not disclosed.

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“Today I honor Hinton Battle, my dear friend who left us to dance and sing in God’s Ensemble last night,” Allen wrote on Instagram today. “He fought this battle to live and be creative impacting audiences and young people across the globe. Let us always hold him high in our hearts and in our mind’s eye and forever speak his name.”

Launching his Broadway career in The Wiz (1975), Battle would go on to appear in such celebrated musicals as Dancin’, Sophisticated Ladies, Dreamgirls, The Tap Dance Kid, Miss Saigon and the longrunning revival of Chicago. He won Tony Awards for Best Featured Actor/Musical for Sophisticated Ladies (1981), The Tap Dance Kid (1983) and Miss Saigon (1991).

Born November 29, 1956, in Germany, Battle studied at the Jones Haywood School of Ballet in Washington, D.C. and the School of American Ballet in New York City. In addition to Broadway, he made numerous TV appearances, including roles in Quantum Leap, Touched By An Angel, Early Edition and Smash.

In perhaps his most memorable TV role, he played the demon Sweet in a 2001 musical episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer titled “Once More, With Feeling.” Battle also choreographed the episode; other choreography credits include the 65th and 66th Annual Academy Awards (with Debbie Allen), The Trouble With Normal and Sister Sister.

Survivor information was not immediately available.

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