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May 9, 2014

The Outrageous Tony Snubs – of 1963-64

Daniel Craig, Daniel Radcliffe, Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Orlando Bloom, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Toni Collette, Rachel Weisz, Mary-Louise Parker, Marisa Tomei, Debra Messing and Michelle Williams.

The 2013-2014 Tony nominators weren’t overly generous to big-name stars, were they?

Well, yeah, but it was a tough competitive year, many said.

True enough. But if you think 2013-14 was neglectful, may we take a look at 1963-64 – precisely 50 seasons ago?

I’ve spent quite a bit of the last year concentrating on this particular twelve-month period, because it’s the subject of my next book: THE GREAT PARADE: THE REMARKABLE 1963-64 BROADWAY SEASON. St. Martin’s Press will bring it out early next year.

It was the season that some famous names won Tonys: Alec Guinness, Sandy Dennis, Hume Cronyn, Carol Channing, Bert Lahr and Jack Cassidy among them.

Some of those who had to be satisfied with nominations were pretty well-regarded, too: Albert Finney, Richard Burton, Beatrice Lillie, Julie Harris, Colleen Dewhurst, Steve Lawrence, Inga Swenson, Charles Nelson Reilly, Bob Fosse (yes, as an actor), Jason Robards, Jr. and – oh, yeah -- Barbra Streisand.

Yes, all in one season.

With all those, how could any actor or actress still be omitted from contention? How could anyone else be – here come the favorite two words heard each May – “robbed” or “snubbed”?

Well, 1963-64 was such a great season that you could fill up each of the eight acting categories with a slate of FIVE – that’s right, not just four – consisting of those who weren’t even nominated.

And that’s just what I did. A few of these may not seem to be luminaries to some – time has ebbed a bit of their luster – but as you’ll see, this list includes plenty of established names as well as potent up-and comers who trod the boards during 1963-64. They had to be satisfied with their salaries and empty mantles.

And the nominees WEREN’T:

Best Actor in a Play:
Charles Boyer (Man and Boy)
Kirk Douglas (One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
Paul Newman (Baby Want a Kiss)
Robert Redford (Barefoot in the Park)
Christopher Plummer (Arturo Ui)

Best Actress in a Play:
Claudette Colbert (The Irregular Verb to Love)
Hermoine Gingold (Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You …)
Eva Le Gallienne (The Seagull)
Margaret Leighton (The Chinese Prime Minister)
Joanne Woodward (Baby Want a Kiss)

Best Featured Actor in a Play:
Brian Bedford (The Private Ear/The Public Eye)
Gene Hackman (Any Wednesday)
Hal Holbrook (After the Fall)
Sam Waterston (Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You …)
Gene Wilder (One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest)

Best Featured Actress in a Play:
Coral Browne (The Rehearsal)
Betty Garrett (Spoon River)
Mildred Natwick (Barefoot in the Park)
Doris Roberts (Marathon ’33)
Joan Tetzel (One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest)

Best Actor in a Musical:
Robert Alda (What Makes Sammy Run?)
Jose Ferrer (The Girl Who Came to Supper)
Harry Guardino (Anyone Can Whistle)
Louis Gossett (Tambourines to Glory)
Edward Woodward (High Spirits)

Best Actress in a Musical:
Barbara Cook (She Loves Me)
Tammy Grimes (High Spirits)
Florence Henderson (The Girl Who Came to Supper)
Angela Lansbury (Anyone Can Whistle)
Mary Martin (Jennie)

Best Featured Actor in a Musical:
Alan Alda (Café Crown)
Larry Blyden (Foxy)
David Burns (Hello, Dolly!)
Dom DeLuise (The Student Gypsy)
Laurence Naismith (Here’s Love)

Best Featured Actress in a Musical:
Eileen Brennan (Hello, Dolly!)
Rita Gardner (Pal Joey)
Sondra Lee (Hello, Dolly!)
Rosetta LeNoire (Tambourines to Glory)
Ethel Shutta (Jennie)

Before anyone starts railing that Barbara Cook was part of the 1962-63 season, yes, that’s true – but not where the Tonys were concerned. Her show opened eight days after the previous Tony deadline – which is why her castmate Jack Cassidy was nominated in 1963-64 and even won as Best Featured Actor in a Musical. Ditto Rita Gardner, who played Linda to Bob Fosse’s Pal Joey. Opening on May 29, 1963, it was clearly too late for the 1962-63 Tony deadline; indeed, the 1963-64 Tonys were given out three days earlier.

And do you know, even with all those 40 non-nominees, there were STILL some notables I had to leave off the list? Oscar-winner Van Heflin, Tony-winners Cyril Ritchard, Robert Preston and Jason Robards, Jr. (as Best Featured Actor in a Play for another Lincoln Center offering), as well as Barnard Hughes, Corin Redgrave, Emelyn Williams, Janis Paige, Lee Remick, Craig Stevens, Brenda Lewis and, yes, even Tallulah Bankhead and Tab Hunter, who appeared together. (I swear it.)

So, Messrs. Craig, Radcliffe and Washington – as well as Mss. Weisz, Parker and Tomei – you are in supremely good company. Let that be at least some consolation to you during the next 50 years.

         — Peter Filichia

You may e-mail Peter at

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and each Friday at

His book, Strippers, Showgirls, and Sharks: A Very Opinionated History of Musicals That Did Not Win the Tony Award,
is now available at

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