Virginia Capers



Born: September 22, 1925
Sumter, South Carolina, USA

Died: May 9, 2004
Los Angeles, California, USA

Virgina Capers, the actress who won a Tony Award in 1974 for her portrayal of a tough but loving family matriarch in the Broadway musical Raisin, died on May 6, 2004, in Los Angeles, the New York Times reported. She was 78. News of her death came just weeks after the opening of a new Broadway revival of Lorainne Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun—the source material for the Judd Woldin-Robert Brittan musical.

Obituary: The role of Lena Younger in Raisin was the most important of Ms. Capers' career and established her as a stage actress. After a slew of good notices, she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. The show went on to run for two years.

Ms. Capers appeared in two Broadway musical before landing the part in Raisin: 1957's Jamaica and 1959's Saratoga. Raisin would be her final Broadway appearance.

Prior to and following her Tony win, Ms. Capers worked extensively in film. Her movie credits include "The Great White Hope," "Lady Sings the Blues," "Trouble Man," "The Toy," "Teachers," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling," and "What's Love Got to Do With It." She also appeared on countless television series, from "Have Gun—Will Travel" in the 1950s to "ER."

Eliza Virginia Capers was born in Sumter, S.C., on Sept. 22, 1925, and attended Howard University and the Juilliard School, the Times reported. She had her start in the Yiddish theater.



Playbill Cover - Raisin Raisin
Oct. 18, 1973 - Dec. 7, 1975
Lena Younger Performer
Playbill Cover - Saratoga Saratoga
Dec. 7, 1959 - Feb. 13, 1960
Ensemble Performer
    The Charwoman Performer
    Kakou Understudy
Playbill Cover - Jamaica Jamaica
Oct. 31, 1957 - Apr. 11, 1959
Grandma Obeah Understudy

Inside the Playbill (1)

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Tony Award

Year Category Production Winner/Nominee
1974 Actress in a Musical Raisin Winner
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