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'In the Heights' Star Clifton Oliver Passes Away at Age 47, Known for Role in 'Lion King.'

by Kyla Cruz

Clifton Oliver, a celebrated actor known for his remarkable performances on Broadway in iconic productions like "The Lion King," "In the Heights," and "Wicked," has sadly passed away at the age of 47. His death occurred on Wednesday after a prolonged illness, as indicated by heartfelt posts on social media from friends and family, revealing that he spent the last six weeks in the hospital before moving to hospice care.

The news of Oliver's passing was shared by his sister, Roxy Hall, from Jacksonville, Florida, who posted a touching tribute on Facebook. She expressed her grief while acknowledging the peaceful nature of his departure, with his partner, Richard, singing Psalm 23 to him as he took his last breath at 3:20 AM.

Image Credit: Raymond Boyd / Contributor / Getty Images

The loss of Clifton Oliver left his loved ones with mixed emotions, as his sister wrote about the sadness she felt at his passing but also the joy she experienced knowing he was finally at peace. She fondly remembered the light he brought into the world and the lives of those he touched with his incredible talent, kind soul, and loving spirit. Hall emphasized that although he may be physically gone, his impact would never be forgotten, as his memory lives on in the hearts of all who knew and admired him.

Born on December 3, 1975, Clifton Oliver's journey to stardom began in his hometown of Jacksonville, where he attended the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, honing his craft and passion for acting. He later moved to New York to pursue his dreams of a successful acting career.

Oliver's portrayal of Simba in the Broadway production of "The Lion King" earned him considerable recognition and praise. His talent and versatility also led him to join the cast of "In the Heights" in 2010, captivating audiences as Benny. Additionally, he showcased his skills in "Wicked," taking on roles in the ensemble and as Fiyero. His talents were not confined to Broadway alone, as he played Simba in both the Las Vegas and Los Angeles productions of "The Lion King" during the production's US tour.

Throughout his illustrious career, Clifton Oliver appeared in an array of other notable stage productions, including "Motown The Musical," "Rent," "Ragtime," "Pal Joey," "Kinky Boots," and "The Scottsboro Boys." His commitment to his craft and his ability to bring characters to life left a lasting impact on the audiences he entertained.

Clifton Oliver's legacy extends far beyond the stages he graced; he left an indelible mark on the hearts of many who admired his talent, warmth, and kindness. His passing marks the end of an era in the theater world, but his contributions will forever be cherished by those who had the privilege of experiencing his artistry on stage.


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