Actor and singer Stephen Douglass (b. Mount Vernon, OH, 27 September 1921; d. Cheshire, England, 20 December 2011) made his Broadway debut as Billy Bigelow in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel when the national touring company had arrived back in New York in Feburary, 1949, and the show was staged at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway. Over the next seventeen years, he would appear in seven other Broadway shows and earn a Tony® nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for his role in the original production of Adler and Ross’s Damn Yankees opposite Gwen Verdon and Ray Walston in 1955.
Douglass’s first original role on Broadway came in the Hugh Martin musical adaptation of Preston Sturges’s book, Make a Wish, in 1951. He later starred opposite Kaye Ballard in the musical The Golden Apple (1954) and replaced John Raitt in the original run of The Pajama Game in 1955 before originating the character of Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees.
Stephen Douglass also appeared as Nelson Crandal in the 1957 musical, Rumple, which starred Eddie Foy, Jr., and featured Elliot Gould as “the photographer.” In 1963, he took on the role of File in the Harvey Schmidt/Tom Jones musical 110 in the Shade. He served as standby for the role of He (Michael) in the 1966 musical comedy by Schmidt and Jones, I Do! I Do!
He retired to England in 1972, but continued to sing in musicals, most notably as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. His final musical appearance was in a 2003 production of Oklahoma!.
Douglass also occasionally sang operatic roles. In 1960, he portrayed Olin Blitch in the Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company’s production of Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah, with Phyllis Curtin in the title role and Richard Cassilly as Sam Polk. In the U.K. he appeared in several concerts for The Ivor Novello Appreciation Bureau at Littlewick Green.
Douglass was married to singer Christine Yates. He died at the age of 90 after a long battle with leukemia.