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Northern Calloway 1948-1990
 


Country :
Profession : Actor
Date of birth : 1948-01-22
Date of death : 1990-01-09
Cause of Death : Stomach cancer

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Northern

Northern J. Calloway (January 22, 1948January 9, 1990) was an American actor who played David on Sesame Street from 1971 through 1989, and also voiced Muppet characters such as Same Sound Brown and the Anything Muppet hipster in the Sesame Street version of the Visual Thinking sketch.

Calloway began his career in 1966 with the Lincoln Center Repertory Company just two days after graduating from the High School of Performing Arts in New York. During the next season he appeared at the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, in A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Three Musketeers. On Broadway he was in The Me Nobody Knows and the Off-Broadway rock musical Salvation. He understudied, and subsequently replaced, Ben Vereen as the Leading Player in the musical Pippin, and was also seen on Broadway in 1980 as the orderly in Whose Life Is It Anyway? with Mary Tyler Moore, and as Louis Armstrong in the New Federal Theater's production of Louis in 1981. In television, Calloway appeared in the 1972 CBS special The Funny Papers, playing Lt. Flap from the Beetle Bailey comic strip.

Calloway was heard on many Sesame Street albums, including his solo record, David, Daydreamin' on a Rainy Day, and appeared in the specials Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, Don't Eat the Pictures, The Sesame Street Special, and Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting.

He had a nervous breakdown in 1980, leading to an incident that saw him jailed. Calloway left the show in 1989; according to a spokeswoman for the Children's Television Workshop, he had retired for medical reasons, and his character was written out. Calloway died in 1990, two weeks before his 42nd birthday.

Personal issues

Near the end of his life, Calloway slowly gained bipolar disorder which led to a nervous breakdown on the morning of September 20, 1980 in Nashville, TN. He beat his hostess with an iron rod, damaging it and giving his hostess head and rib injuries. He then fled into the suburbs of Nashville. Along the way, he smashed a plate-glass window and storm door at one house and completely destroyed the interior of another (destroying the family's collection of fine crystal, smashing a television set and breaking light bulbs with his bare hands). He also stole a backpack from a first grader and smashed a windshield with a rock. He was arrested after hiding out in a couple's garage, screaming "Help! I'm David from Sesame Street and they're trying to kill me!" He was later arrested yet continued his years on Sesame Street with no side effects. But Calloway still had issues, getting into an on-set fight with Danny Epstein and going to Alison Bartlett's school and proposing to her.

Calloway left the show in 1989, and died in January 1990. It appears that he died of stomach cancer, although his family never officially announced the cause of death. 'Unfortunately, Calloway's family rushed him to the closest hospital that happened to be a psychiatric hospital, which created rumors that Calloway had died in an asylum'. He was then taken to Phelps Memorial Hospital in North Tarrytown, where he was pronounced dead at the age of 41. He was survived by his wife and their only child. Unlike Will Lee (Mr. Hooper), no mention of his death was made on Sesame Street (as at the time of the character's leaving, Calloway was still alive). He was buried in Ferncliff Cemetery.

Calloway remained a regular performer on Broadway throughout his career.

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