Ann Reinking, Star of Broadway's Chicago and Tony-Winning Choreographer, Dies at 71
The actress was best known for her role as Roxie Hart in 1977's Chicago, which she reprised when the show was revived in 1996
Ann Reinking, the Broadway star best known for her role as Roxie Hart in Chicago and as a muse for Bob Fosse, died on Saturday, Variety confirmed. She was 71.
The Tony-winning actress died in her sleep while visiting family in Seattle, Washington, her sister-in-law Darhla King told the outlet. The cause of death is not yet known, The New York Times reported.
"The world and our family have lost a vibrant, amazing talent and beautiful soul. Ann was the heart of our family and the life of the party," her family told Variety in a statement Monday. "She was visiting our brother in Washington state when she went to sleep and never woke up. We will miss her more than we can say. Heaven has the best choreographer available now. I’m sure they are dancing up a storm up there! Annie, we will love and miss you always!!!"
The Seattle native first hit the stage in 1965 in a Seattle Opera House production of Bye Bye Birdie. She landed her first Broadway show when she was cast in the ensemble for Cabaret in 1969.
Her breakout came in 1977 when she replaced Gwen Verdon as Roxie Hart in Chicago. She reprised the role in the show's 1996 revival, for which she won the Tony Award for best choreography.
In 1979, she starred in Bob Fosse's 1979 autobiographical film All That Jazz in which she played a fictional character based on herself. According to the Times, Reinking had been romantically involved with Fosse, who choreographed the original Chicago.
Last year, actress Margaret Qualley played Reinking in FX's mini-series Fosse/Verdon, which portrayed her as a young dancer who dated her mentor, Fosse.
In 1999, Reinking also co-created, co-directed and co-choreographed the musical Fosse which showcased the subject's choreography.
Throughout her time on Broadway, Reinking also starred in Goodtime Charley, A Chorus Line, Sweet Charity and Over Here! She also starred in the film version of Annie as Grace Farrell.
Her final time on stage was in 2001 when she served as a replacement ensemble member in Fosse.
Following the news of her death, several Broadway stars shared meaningful tributes on social media in honor of the acclaimed star.
"Oh, this is devastating. Now SHE was an icon. A titan of the dance world. RIP sweet lady," wrote Ariana DeBose.
Bernadette Peters added that the news was "So Sad."
Chita Rivera, who also was a legend of the Fosse dance style, wrote she was "beyond words to hear of the sudden passing" of her "dear friend" Reinking.
"Such a beautiful soul & talent. We met during the original CHICAGO & were close friends to this day. I so loved sharing the stage with her. Her spirit & #RazzleDazzle are w me always," she continued.
"A singular talent has left us," added Lin-Manuel Miranda.