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John Raitt, singer father of Bonnie, dies
#3 - 0--BlackBoXz--John Raitt, singer father of Bonnie, dies--2005-03-06 02:54:31
#Sunday, February 20, 2005
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- John Raitt, the robust baritone who created the role of Billy Bigelow in the original New York production of "Carousel" and sang with Doris Day in the movie "Pajama Game," died Sunday. He was 88.
Raitt, the father of singer Bonnie Raitt, died from complications of pneumonia at his Pacific Palisades home, his manager, James Fitzgerald, said in a statement.
Raitt had become well known on the West Coast for his handsome presence and ringing voice when in 1944 he was invited to New York to try out for the role of Curly in the road company of "Oklahoma!" He was rushed from Penn Station to the St. James Theater and an audition with Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers.
In 1995, Raitt recalled: "I hadn't sung since California, so I said, 'Do you mind if I warm up?' I sang Figaro's aria from 'The Barber of Seville.' Then I sang all of Curly's songs."'
There was silence when he finished. The problem was not his voice, which was both melodic and powerful, but his height. At 6 feet 2 was he too tall for Curly? Hammerstein reasoned: "I'm a tall man. Why can't Curly be tall?" Raitt was hired for the Chicago company of "Oklahoma!"