Ronald Dennis, who starred in the original Broadway production of “A Chorus Line” in 1975, died Saturday at the age of 78.
Dennis, who was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1984, died after a long battle with the disease, Deadline reports.
After his diagnosis, Dennis became a passionate advocate for AIDS awareness and served on the Broadway Cares Advisory Council — a nonprofit organization that raises money for people in the arts — as well as a senior advisor for APLA’s Project Rise, which developed the HIV drug adherence board as a resource for Black men.
Dennis is best known for his rendition of “Gimme the Ball” from “A Chorus Line,” in which his character talks about how he almost gave up his career as a dancer to become a teacher.
“We are saddened by the passing of Ronald Dennis, the original Ritchie on A Chorus Line,” wrote “A Chorus Line” composer Marvin Hamlisch. “We’re going to kick up and smash ‘Gimme That Ball’ in his honor today.”
Dennis has also appeared in the touring production of A Chorus Line, as well as Pippin, Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ and La Cage aux Folles.
According to BroadwayWorld, memorial services for Dennis will be held in both Los Angeles and New York in the New Year.
His representatives said they “would like to thank the many doctors and nurses who have looked after him over the years, but especially the entire Canyon Trails staff for providing him with such personal care over the past year.”
Dennis is survived by his brother George, as well as nieces, nephews and several friends. His family has asked that people donate to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids in lieu of flowers.
https://nypost.com/2022/12/20/ronald-dennis-broadway-star-of-original-a-chorus-line-dead/ Ronald Dennis, Broadway star of the original “A Chorus Line,” has died