Lou Gehrig’s disease claims Rebecca Luker, 3-time Tony-nominated actor

Rebecca Luker, a three-time Tony-nominated actor, died Wednesday from Lou Gehrig's disease. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris)
Rebecca Luker, a three-time Tony-nominated actor, died Wednesday from Lou Gehrig's disease. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris)

Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris

Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris

Rebecca Luker, a three-time Tony-nominated actor who was renowned for a rich soprano voice, died Wednesday from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Her death was confirmed to The New York Times by her agent. She was 59.

Born April 17, 1961, in Birmingham, Alabama, Luker debuted on Broadway in 1988 in the original cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber’sThe Phantom of the Opera,” according to Playbill. She also understudied the role of Christine Daaé, eventually taking over the lead.

In 1991, on Broadway, Luker played Lily, the late aunt to 10-year-old Mary Lennox, who appears as a ghost throughout the Tony-nominated musicalThe Secret Garden.” She appeared alongside Tony winners Mandy Patinkin and Daisy Eagan as well as Tony nominee Alison Fraser. She earned her first Drama Desk Award nomination for outstanding featured actress in a musical.

In 1994, Luker was cast in a revival of “Show Boat,” which went on to win a 1995 Tony. Luker received her first Tony nomination for best actress in a musical for her work as Magnolia opposite the Gaylord Ravenal of Mark Jacoby.

Luker would earn her third Tony nomination playing Winifred Banks in the Disney and Cameron Mackintosh musicalMary Poppins.” On screen, she appeared in “Bull,” “NCIS: New Orleans,” “Elementary,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “The Rewrite,” “Russian Broadway Shut Down,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Not Fade Away,” “Submissions Only,” “The Good Wife,” “Spectropia,” “Cupid & Cate,” and “Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas.”

In Other News