Who Was Tony Mordente? All About West Side Story Star As He Passes Away At 88

Tony Mordente, an actor who was a part of West Side Story recently passed away. Let's discuss the mark he has left on the industry.

Published on Jun 15, 2024  |  12:48 PM IST |  34.3K
Who was Tony Mordente
From left to right, actors Russ Tamblyn, Tony Mordente, Tucker Smith and Scooter Teague in a publicity still issued for the film, West Side Story, USA, 1961. (Getty)

Trigger Warning: This article contains mention of death.

Tony Mordente, who helms from different talents, was recently reported to have died. The multi-hyphenate was 88 and is known to have left a huge mark on the industry, while also appearing on big-screen versions of West Side Story. 

As per a report by PEOPLE, his oldest daughter, Lisa Mordente, confirmed her father's passing away.

Who was Tony Mordente? 

The skilled star became a big name in the 1950s, having been associated with the 1957 Broadway and 1958 West End productions of West Side Story. He played A-Rab in the 1957 project, which also happened to be his big break. 

Before he stepped into the world of stardom, he sharpened his skills as a dancer at the High School of Performing Arts and soon won a scholarship that led him to his dream at the American Ballet Theater School. 

However, Tony Mordente’s talents simply don't end with his West Side Story projects, as he later went on to become a choreographer on Broadway along with working as the same for television’s most acclaimed shows like The Ed Sullivan Show as well as The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour during the 1960s.

Later in the 1970s, Mordente started his journey as a director. His credits include Family Ties, M*A*S*H, 7th Heaven, The A-Team, and more. 


He met the late Chita Rivera, his former wife, on the set of Broadway, with whom he welcomed Lisa. However, after their daughter's birth in 1958, the couple got divorced in 1966. Rivera died in January of this year. 

He married Jean Fraser in 1978 and soon welcomed his second daughter, Adriana Mordente, as per The Hollywood Reporter.

"I was a real ballet fan. I was only a ballet fan, and I knew nothing else about anything but ballet, and that’s all I ever wanted to know,” Mordente once stated during his interview with PBS in 2007.

Tony Mordente passed away at 88

Tony Mordente whose talents don't just end as an actor or choreographer but also carve his long career contributions as a dancer and TV Director in the industry, was reported to have died recently. 

As per PEOPLE, his daughter Lisa Mordente confirmed the saddening news, while his obituary reports that the multi-talented star passed away on Tuesday, June 11, who lived in Henderson, Nevada.


He is survived by his two daughters, the 1982 Best Actress Tony Nominee, Lisa, and Adriana Mordente.

ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Ansel Elgort & Rachel Zegler DECODE Tony & Maria's meet cute in West Side Story's Dance at the Gym


When did Tony Mordente and Chita Rivera get divorced?
Tony Mordente and Chita Rivera got divorced in 1966.

For which movie was Lisa Mordente nominated for Best Actress Tony?
Lisa Mordente earned Best Actress Tony nomination in 1982 for the musical Marlowe.

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