Clifton Oliver, a New York actor whose credits include roles in the Broadway musicals “Wicked,” “The Lion King” and “In the Heights,” died Wednesday at the age of 47.
Oliver’s death was confirmed on social media by his sister, Roxy Hall.
“My baby brother, Clifton Oliver, has had his final curtain call. It was peaceful,” she wrote. “His partner Richard, was singing to him the song Psalm 23 as he took his last breath this morning at 3:20 AM. He had a Gorgeous smile on his Beautiful face!! He went twirling into the afterlife ready to make his Grand Appearance as the Star of his Homecoming Celebration!”
She went on to note: “I will value my time with him the last six weeks of his life that I spent at his bedside in the hospital and then finally hospice. I was able to love on my baby brother, and I will always cherish the memories of having an honor and privilege to do just that!”
Though People and other outlets reported that Oliver had been sick with an undisclosed illness, a cause of death has not yet been made public.
News of the Jacksonville, Florida, native’s passing drew an outpouring of condolences from other actors and members of the New York theater community.
“This one really hurts,” wrote actor and writer Carla Renata, who appeared alongside Oliver in Disney’s “The Lion King” in Los Angeles. “I know that the clouds must clear and that the sun will shine…Shine on #cliftonoliver.”
Added Rogelio Torre, a public relations representative: “Rest in peace Clifton…it was an honour knowing and sharing love to the theatre with you, what a talent you had.”
Oliver attended Florida’s Douglas Anderson School of the Arts before moving to New York in 2010 to pursue a career in theater. That same year, he joined the ensemble of Broadway’s “Wicked,” and later understudied the principal role of Fiyero, according to Playbill.
Later in 2010, he appeared in “In the Heights” as Benny, a role originated by actor Christopher Jackson. But he’s perhaps most associated with “The Lion King,” having played the role of Simba in Los Angeles and Las Vegas before coming to Broadway.
His other credits include “Rent,” “Kinky Boots” and “Motown the Musical.”
“I love what I do, and the fact that I get to perform for people and do something I love just keeps me motivated and inspired,” he said in a 2016 YouTube interview with Hero News, an entertainment outlet. “That’s how I’m constantly able to keep myself going.”