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Original Oklahoma! Star Joan Roberts Dies at Age 95

Original Oklahoma! Star Joan Roberts Dies at Age 95
Alfred Drake & Joan Roberts in 'Oklahoma'
Joan Roberts, the original Laurey in 'Oklahoma!,' dies at age 95.

Joan Roberts, who created the role of Laurey in the 1943 Broadway production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, died on August 13 of congestive heart failure in Stamford, Connecticut, according to her son, John Donlon. She was 95.

Born on July 15, 1917, in New York City, Roberts made her professional debut at five in an episode of the Our Gang film serial. In addition to Oklahoma!, her Broadway credits included Sunny River, Marinka, Are You With It?, High Button Shoes and the 2001 revival of Follies as Heidi Schiller. In recent years, she conducted workshops for singers and penned an autobiography, Stage Right, which was released by Kaufmann Publishing earlier this summer.

Roberts was married to Dr. John Donlon, who died 1965, and Dr. Alexander Peter, who died in 1993. She is survived by her son and two stepsons, Robert Peter and James Peter.

Roberts is the second Oklahoma! star to pass away this summer: Celeste Holm, who created the role of Ado Annie, died on July 15.

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