Sad to share that Pam Blair, an original cast member of A Chorus Line (Val – “Dance: Ten; Looks: Three”) has died at the age of 73 after weeks of medical issues. No cause of death has been announced.
Born in Bennington, Vermont she studied dance, played sports, and dreamed of becoming a Radio City Rockette.
She moved to New York City to attend The National Academy of Ballet, and within a fairly short amount of time was cast as a replacement in the hit musical Promises, Promises, choreographed by Michael Bennett.
An original cast member of the stage musical version of Some Like It Hot – Sugar, she went on to take over the lead role of “Sugar Kane.”
She reunited with Michael Bennett for his hit musical Seesaw, and then landed the role of “Curly’s Wife,” the only female role in the acclaimed James Earl Jones Broadway revival of Of Mice and Men.
In 1974, Blair was invited by Michael Bennett to take part in the workshops that would eventually birth A Chorus Line. The character of “Valerie Clark” was in large part, based on her own life, although the surgical upgrade aspects of the role came from another dancer.
Along with the cast, Blair was awarded the 1976 Theatre World Award for Ensemble Performance for the show.
She next originated the role of “Amber” (later “Angel”) in 1978’s The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Her performance earned her a Drama Desk Award nomination. She can be heard on the cast recording as the lead in “Hard Candy Christmas.”
She went on to several more roles on Broadway including the short-lived King of Hearts, The Nerd, and A Few Good Men.
Blair also found success on TV in daytime dramas including Loving, Another World, Ryan’s Hope, and All My Children, for which she received a Daytime Emmy nomination.
And there were guest starring roles on shows like Law & Order, The Cosby Show, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.
She appeared opposite Jodie Foster in the TV film Svengali, and in feature films Mighty Aphrodite directed by Woody Allen, 21 Grams with Sean Penn and Benicio Del Toro, Before and After with Meryl Streep and Liam Neeson, and Annie as the maid Annette.
She married actor and director, Don Scardino in 1984, and they divorced in 1991. Until her passing, she resided in Arizona where she owns her own Therapeutic and Myofascial Massage Studio for athletes.
Rest in peace, Pam Blair.