Broadway Actor Nick Cordero Dies Of COVID-19 At Age 41 : Coronavirus Updates The Broadway actor was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in Bullets Over Broadway. Cordero had been working on a production of Rock of Ages when he developed symptoms of pneumonia.

'Never Known A Kinder Person': Actor Nick Cordero Dies Of COVID-19 At 41

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/887583569/887925829" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Broadway is mourning Tony Award-nominated actor Nick Cordero. He lost his three-month-long battle with the coronavirus on Sunday. His wife announced his death on Instagram. Cordero was 41. Jeff Lunden has this appreciation.

JEFF LUNDEN, BYLINE: Tall and lanky, Nick Cordero was best known for playing tough guys. He played a 1920s gangster in "Bullets Over Broadway," for which he received a Tony nomination...

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSICAL, "BULLETS OVER BROADWAY")

NICK CORDERO: (As Cheech, singing) Tain't nobody's business if I do.

LUNDEN: ...An abusive husband in "Waitress..."

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSICAL, "WAITRESS")

CORDERO: (As Earl, singing) Til the end of time.

LUNDEN: ...And a mobster in "A Bronx Tale."

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSICAL, "A BRONX TALE")

CORDERO: (As Sonny, singing) And this one could be one of the great ones.

JERRY ZAKS: As a person, Nick was all heart and all concerned about the other guy, you know, which also informed his acting.

LUNDEN: Jerry Zaks directed Nick Cordero in "A Bronx Tale" on Broadway.

ZAKS: It's one thing to be a tough guy. It's another thing to be a tough guy that the audience cares about, and the audience cared about him because that big heart informed all those so-called tough guys. So what you got was a human being.

LUNDEN: The Canadian-born actor was in Los Angeles in March when he began displaying symptoms of pneumonia. He was admitted to the hospital, diagnosed with COVID-19 and put in an induced coma. His wife Amanda Kloots detailed his medical tribulations in her Instagram account and includes reposted fans and friends singing her husband's song, "Live Your Life."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LIVE YOUR LIFE")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: (Singing) 'Cause it's all right. Live your life.

LUNDEN: That's from a video of Broadway actors performing the song. Cordero went through an inordinate number of complications. His right leg was amputated. He suffered mini strokes and lost over 60 pounds. And while he came off the ventilator in May, giving his followers hope, the damage to his lungs was serious enough that Kloots recently told CBS that he'd need a double lung transplant to survive. Diane Paulus directed Cordero in "Waitress."

DIANE PAULUS: He was full of life and light. He was funny. He made everybody feel at ease. He was that company member who lifted everyone's spirits.

LUNDEN: Under normal circumstances, Broadway would be dimming its lights in Nick Cordero's memory. But it's going to be a long time before the lights go back on.

For NPR News, I'm Jeff Lunden in New York.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LIVE YOUR LIFE")

CORDERO: (Singing) And it's all right. Live your life.

Copyright © 2020 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.