Actor Richard Kiley dies at 76

WARWICK, N.Y. - Richard Kiley, who was Broadway's original "Man of La Mancha" and who performed dozens of other roles in movies and television since the 1950s, has died. He was 76.

A director of the Lazear-Smith Funeral Home in Warwick confirmed the actor's death Friday morning, but provided few other details. It wasn't immediately clear when he died.

Kiley was best known for playing Don Quixote in the 1965 musical "Man of La Mancha," and singing its best-known hit, "The Impossible Dream."

The show ran for more than five years on Broadway - more than 2,300 performances - and toured all over the world. Kiley played Don Quixote twice more on Broadway, in 1972 and 1977.

His career spanned four decades, with credits including "Looking for Mr. Goodbar," the recent "Patch Adams," and the 1983 television miniseries, "The Thorn Birds." TV guest appearances included "Ally McBeal," "Picket Fences" and several episodes of "Gunsmoke."

On a national tour of the Tennessee Williams play, "A Streetcar Named Desire" from 1948 to 1950, Kiley replaced Anthony Quinn in the pivotal role of Stanley Kowalski.

Kiley was born on the south side of Chicago, the son of an Irish Catholic railroad statistician. His grandfather used to recite operas and quote Shakespeare.

In a 1970 interview with the New York Post, he said that after landing the lead in his high school play, he discovered acting was "a wonderful way to communicate without a one-to-one relationship."

The actor lived in Warwick, 43 miles northwest of New York City. A funeral was to be arranged there.