Marin Mazzie, one of Broadway’s leading ladies until her battle with ovarian cancer forced her out of performing, succumbed to her illness on Thursday, September 13.
Born October 9, 1960, in Rockford, Illinois, Mazzie studied theatre and music at Western Michigan University. Upon graduation, she moved to New York, and it did not take long before she was starring in her first Off-Broadway production: an Equity Library Theatre revival of Frank Loesser and George Abbott’s Where’s Charley? Within a few years (and just one week shy of her 25th birthday), Mazzie made her Broadway debut, this time in the musical, Big River. Her next big Broadway conquest was starring as Rapunzel in the original run of Into the Woods. She earned her first Tony nomination for originating the role of Clara in Sondheim’s musical, Passions, earned her second Tony nomination for her role in Ragtime, and her third Tony nomination for her role in the 1999 revival of Kiss Me, Kate.
Mazzie had a prolific career. In fact, she was in the middle of the Off-Broadway revival of Zorba! when she learned about her ovarian cancer diagnosis.
“How ironic that I was singing: ‘Life is what you do while you’re waiting to die. Life is how the time goes by,'” Mazzie said in an interview with the New York Times shortly before announcing her remission, referring to the song “Life Is…” which is a song her character sang in Zorba!
Though she announced her remission in January of 2016, the cancer came back, and Mazzie did not win the final battle.
The divine and courageous Marin Mazzie was #TonyAwards-nominated for PASSION, RAGTIME, and KISS ME, KATE. We join with her husband, Broadway's Jason Daniele, her friends and family, and all her fans to mourn her untimely passing. Rest in peace. https://t.co/UBVTuJL7GH pic.twitter.com/vNp1rxWn1m— The Tony Awards (@TheTonyAwards) September 13, 2018
“While fighting her own fight, she took it upon herself to help spread awareness of Ovarian Cancer and to help find an early detection for the disease, of which, currently, there is none,” her husband, Jason Danieley, said in a statement released today according to E! Online.
Mazzie was incredibly open about her journey with cancer, as well as her pains and struggles. She did not often wear a wig, though she was known for her trademark blond locks. Mazzie also credited the battle with strengthening the relationship and bond between she and her husband, a fellow actor. She kept a positive attitude about it all, even until the end.
“I’m not saying people should rejoice, but just not to view it as the worst thing that could ever happen to me,” she said in 2015. “Because the way I look at it is, if this is the worst thing that ever happens to me, I’m pretty friggin’ lucky. Because look at the world.”