Full name, Frederick Lawrence Kert; born December 5, 1930 (one source lists 1934), in Los Angeles, CA; died of complications from AIDS, June 5, 1991, in New York. Actor, singer, and dancer.
Kert will best be remembered for originating the role of Tony in the Broadwayproduction of West Side Story. He began his career with Bill Norvas and the Upstarts, a song and dance troupe that was featured in various stage shows. Kert sang and acted in supporting parts until 1957, when he won the lead role of Tony in West Side Story. Kert acted the role for three yearsof its original Broadway run, and on tour in later years. He appeared in numerous productions throughout the fifties and sixties, including Breakfastat Tiffany's, Cabaret, and La Strada. In 1970, Kert replaced DeanJones in the role of Robert in the musical Company. His work in Company earned him a Tony nomination, giving Kert the distinction of being the only replacement actor to win such an honor. In 1987 Kert appeared in twoGershwin musicals, Let Them Eat Cake and Of Thee I Sing. Priorto his death, Kert appeared at the Rainbow and Stars nightclub, where he performed songs from West Side Story with his original costar Carol Lawrence. In addition to his stage work, Kert also appeared in films and on numerous television programs.