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Parsons, Murray, Cariou, Hines Among Hall of Fame Inductees

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Based on the recommendations of the American Theatre Critics Association, as well as additional critics and historians, eight new inductees in the Theatre Hall of Fame have been chosen.

Released Tues., Oct. 19, the list is headed by Estelle Parsons and Brian Murray, with 44 Broadway productions and seven Tony nods between them, and three Tony-winning actors: Len Cariou, the late Gregory Hines, and Sir Ian McKellen. Prolific playwright A.R. Gurney, set and costume designer Santo Loquasto, and Tony-winning producer Elizabeth Ireland McCann round out the list.

The induction ceremony—with the names of the inductees enshrined in gold on the upper lobby walls of the Gershwin Theatre—will take place Mon., Jan. 24, 2005. Jerry Orbach will emcee. A candidate must have at least five major theatre credits (not necessarily on Broadway) over at least 25 years to be considered. This year there were 67 nominees.

Parsons, 77, debuted on Broadway in the 1956 Ethel Merman-starring tuner "Happy Hunting," yet she is a highly versatile play actress as well ("The Seven Descents of Myrtle," "And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little," "Morning's at Seven"). A noted director, Parsons is the former artistic director of the Actors Studio.

England-born actor-director Murray, 67, debuted on Broadway in "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" in 1965. His 19 credits on Broadway include four Lincoln Center Theater productions (such as "Racing Demon" and this season's "The Rivals") and the original "Noises Off." Off Broadway, his resume is highlighted by "Travels With My Aunt" and "The Play About the Baby."

Queen Elizabeth II knighted McKellen, 65, in 1989. He made his Broadway debut in 1967 in "The Promise" and won a Tony for "Amadeus" in 1981. In addition to starring in "Wild Honey" and two solo outings—"Ian McKellen: Acting Shakespeare" in 1984 and "Ian McKellen: A Knight Out at the Lyceum" in 1994—he most recently appeared on Broadway in "Dance of Death" opposite Helen Mirren.

Hines, who died at 57 in 2003, was a quadruple threat: actor, dancer, singer, and choreographer. He won a 1992 Tony and copped a choreography nod for "Jelly's Last Jam," and was Tony-nominated for "Sophisticated Ladies," "Comin' Uptown," and "Eubie!" His 1954 Broadway debut occurred at age eight when he was featured, with brother Maurice, in "The Girl in the Pink Tights," a musical.

Winnipeg-born Cariou, 65, is a veteran of 14 Broadway shows. Classically trained at Canada's Stratford Festival, he was one of the most durable musical actors of the '70s and '80s, winning a Tony for "Sweeney Todd" and nominations for "A Little Night Music" and "Applause." Of late, he has returned to his straight-play roots, appearing in "The Dinner Party," "Proof," and a solo work about Ernest Hemingway, "Papa."

Known as "Pete," A.R. Gurney, 74, has written dozens of plays, including "The Dining Room," "The Cocktail Hour," "Another Antigone," "The Perfect Party," "A Cheever Evening," "Sylvia," "Big Bill," "Mrs. Farnsworth," "The Fourth Wall," and "Far East." His Pulitzer Prize-nominated "Love Letters," "Sweet Sue," and "The Golden Age" all ran on Broadway.

McCann, managing producer of the Tony Awards since 2001, has eight Tony-winning plays to her credit, including "The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?," "Copenhagen," "Nicholas Nickleby," and "Amadeus." She became a managing director in the Nederlander Organization in 1967, formed a producing partnership with Nelle Nugent in 1976, and has long championed the work of Edward Albee.

Loquasto, 60, has designed sets and/or costumes for 50 Broadway shows and amassed 11 Tony nominations—seven for sets, four for costumes. He has won three times: twice for costumes ("Grand Hotel," "The Cherry Orchard") and once for sets ("Café Crown). His most recent Broadway outing was the acclaimed 2003 revival of "Long Day's Journey Into Night."

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