Born in Salem, Oregon, Reid Shelton made his Broadway debut as Joe the Waiter in Harold Rome’s 1953 musical comedy, Wish You Were Here. In the course of a career that spanned four decades, Shelton appeared in nine Broadway musicals and frequently appeared in a wide range of television series, including Cheers, 1st & 10, St. Elsewhere, and Three’s Company.
He had three parts in the original 1956 Broadway production of Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady – as the Butler, as the First Cockney, and as a member of the singing ensemble in such memorable tunes as “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and “Get Me to the Church On Time.”
In 1964, he was part of the ensemble in Oh, What a Lovely War, a musical revue based on official records, documents, and news reports from World War I. Shelton later appeared as the King and the Knight in the 1969 musical adaptation of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
After playing the replacement for several roles in Bock and Harnick’s 1970 musical, The Rothschilds, he appeared in the short-lived 1976 musical, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, by Alan Jay Lerner and Leonard Bernstein.
Reid Shelton last appeared on Broadway in the starring role of Oliver Warbucks in the 1977 hit musical Annie by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin. He received his first and only Tony® nomination for the part, and remained with the production for its entire six-year run of 2,377 performances.