Broadway actor Clifton Oliver dies at 47

Clifton Oliver, a New York actor who has appeared in Broadway musicals Wicked, The Lion King and In the Heights, among others, died Wednesday at the age of 47.

Oliver’s death has been confirmed on social media by his sister Roxy Hall.

“My little brother, Clifton Oliver, had his last curtain. It was peaceful,” she wrote. “His partner Richard sang him the song Psalm 23 at 3:20 this morning as he was taking his last breath. He had a beautiful smile on his beautiful face!! He twirled into the afterlife, ready to make his grand entrance as the star of his homecoming party!”

She remarked further: “I will cherish the time with him, the last six weeks of his life spent at his bedside in the hospital and finally in the hospice. I was able to love my little brother and will always remember the honor and privilege of doing just that!”

Oliver performing with Jordin Sparks in New York's Times Square in 2010.
Oliver performing with Jordin Sparks in New York’s Times Square in 2010.

Alli Harvey via Getty Images

Although People And other outlets reported that Oliver was ill with an unknown disease, a cause of death has not yet been released.

News of the Jacksonville, Fla. native’s death prompted deep condolences from fellow actors and members of the New York theater community.

“This really hurts,” wrote the actor and author Carla Renata, who appeared opposite Oliver in Disney’s The Lion King in Los Angeles. “I know the clouds will have to clear and the sun will shine… shine on #cliftonoliver.”

Added Rogelio Torrea PR rep: “Rest in peace Clifton… it was an honor to know your love for theater and to share what a talent you had.”

Oliver attended the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Florida before moving to New York in 2010 to pursue a theater career. That same year he joined the cast of Broadway’s Wicked and later undertook the lead role of Fiyero. according to Playbill.

Clifton Oliver as Simba in Disney's "The Lion King."
Clifton Oliver as Simba in Disney’s The Lion King.

Kirk McKoy via Getty Images

Later in 2010, he appeared in “In the Heights” as Benny, a role invented by actor Christopher Jackson. But maybe he is most associated with The Lion King after playing the role of Simba in Los Angeles and Las Vegas before coming to Broadway.

His other appearances include “Rent”, “Kinky Boots” and “Motown the Musical”.

“I love what I do and the fact that I can perform for people and do something that I love just motivates and inspires me,” he said a YouTube interview from 2016 with Hero News, an entertainment company. “That’s how I manage to keep myself going.”

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