Marcus D’Amico, who played a pioneering gay role in Tales of the City, has passed away.
The actor died on 16 December, his family and former manager said, after suffering from pneumonia.
His sister Melissa D’Amico wrote on Twitter: “Not only have I lost my beautiful brother but the world has lost an incredibly talented actor and director. Words cannot express how much I miss him.”
D’Amico had key roles in a number of pivotal LGBT+ works, picking up a 1992 Olivier Award nomination for his role in the original London production of Tony Kushner’s AIDS epic, Angels in America.
Marcus D’Amico was known for landmark Tales of the City role
The actor became best known for originating the role Michael ‘Mouse’ Tolliver in the 1993 TV series Tales of the City, the first adaptation of Armistead Maupin‘s beloved queer novel series.
The role was recast for the 1998 revival More Tales of the City, with Paul Hopkins taking over after reported “creative differences” between D’Amico and Maupin relating to the pioneering gay character.
D’Amico’s departure from Tales of the City was subject to speculation at the time, amid reports that he was hesitant to become known for playing a succession of gay roles.
However, Maupin later said: “Despite the rumours, it is not true that Marcus D’Amico wasn’t invited back because of issues surrounding his sexuality. The production team met Marcus and he expressed ‘ambivalence’ about returning to the role of Mouse. The director felt it was important to find someone who would enthusiastically embrace the role.”
D’Amico went on to return to theatre with another gay role in The Lisbon Traviata, reflecting in 2003: “I did get typecast in gay roles but it now no longer worries me.”
Tributes paid to actor’s pioneering work
Fans have paid tribute to the actor. One wrote: “This is so very sad. The original Mouse in Tales of The City and the original Louis in Angels in America. The two most formative and influential dramatic works in my life. Gods bless you, Marcus.”
Another added: “This is heart-breaking. If it’s possible to fall in love with a character, Marcus D’Amico’s ‘Mouse’ Tolliver was my first and only.
“For a closeted 17 year old, this was the first attractive, happy and confident gay man I’d ever seen on screen. So much more than a role model.”
Casting director Patick Baca wrote: “When I was a young talent manager (before I transitioned to casting), Marcus D’Amico was one of my very early acting clients.
“Marcus was friendly, charismatic, talented. His star shone bright. Tales of the City and Angels in America at the National, London, were two of the highlights that awaited Marcus down his career line.
“I’m saddened to report this creative soul has passed, leaving us much too early. He was a fantastic creature – and stage and screen are dimmer without him. Bye for now.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the star is survived by mum Patricia, sisters Melissa and Lindy, half-brother Michael, daughter Sapphire and son Chiron.