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Carl Anderson 1945-2004

Country : Lynchburg, VA
Profession : Singer
Date of birth : 1945-02-27
Date of death : 2004-02-23
Cause of Death : Leukemia

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Carl Anderson (February 27 1945 – February 23 2004) was an American singer, film and theatre actor best known for his Golden Globe Award nominated portrayal of Judas Iscariot in the Broadway and film versions of the rock opera by Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Jesus Christ Superstar.



Early life

Born in Lynchburg, Virginia, Anderson was one of 12 children of James and Alberta Anderson. During his junior year of high school, Carl enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he served as a communications technician for two years. He returned to Lynchburg to complete high school and graduate in 1965. With his honorable discharge, following high school, Carl sang at military bases across America as part of the World Wide Air Force Talent Contest.

Anderson moved to Washington D.C. in 1969. Carl and some friends formed a group called "The Second Eagle", with Carl handling the vocals. Among the many jazz/rock tunes Second Eagle covered were some from the album Jesus Christ Superstar, which had been released long before there were ever any definitive plans for a stage production.

In 1971, a talent agent for the William Morris Agency saw Carl perform some songs from the show at St. Stephen's Church and recognized Carl's potential as a solo performer.

Early Career History

Carl played the role of Judas in the pre-Broadway touring company's production of Jesus Christ Superstar but was passed over for the initial 1971 Broadway production when producers opted for the more well-known Ben Vereen for the part, and was cast as an understudy. Although Carl didn't know it at the time, one of his most significant opportunities came when he took over the role from Vereen and performed it on Broadway and in Los Angeles when Vereen fell ill. After Vereen recovered, both actors took turns playing the role. Castmate and close friend Ted Neeley was performing in the tour as well, but – like Anderson – was cast as chorus and the Jesus understudy. Yvonne Elliman was also in the tour as Mary Magdalene. While performing in Los Angeles, Carl was flown to London for a screen test. Two weeks later, he left that production to begin filming in Israel alongside Neeley and Elliman, who were cast for the main role and as Magdalene, respectively. The film, released in 1973 by director Norman Jewison, catapulted Anderson's career with two Golden Globe nominations as "Most Promising Newcomer" and "Best Musical Actor".

In the late 1970s, he reprised his performance as Judas for two regional productions in California, both under the auspices of the California Youth Theatre organization. The first reunited him with his Broadway and film co-stars Ted Neeley and Yvonne Elliman, and the second reunited him again with his close friend Ted.

Other movie appearances by Anderson include: The Black Pearl (1978) and Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple (1985). Television appearances include: Cop Rock, Days of our Lives and Hill Street Blues.

As a recording artist, Anderson was equally prolific. Carl signed with Motown Records in 1972. Several of the most recognizable albums to be released in the musically-explosive 70s would bear the mark of Carl Anderson, including his work with Stevie Wonder on his landmark 1976 double album Songs in the Key of Life.

Carl also made numerous appearances at several notable clubs in Los Angeles during the 1970s and, with Columbia Records' talent scout Larkin Arnold, signed a record deal for which Carl would release four albums on the Epic label beginning in 1983. In total, Anderson released nine jazz and Soul albums as a solo artist, including hits "How Deep Does It Go," "Pieces Of A Heart," "Hot Coffee," and the mega-hit from his self-titled 1986 album, "Friends and Lovers" (a duet with Gloria Loring) which reached the number-two spot on the charts that year and endeared Carl to soap opera fans. Carl also appeared on albums with other leading artists.

Later Career History

In 1992, Carl reprised his role as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar for a "20th Anniversary of the Movie" tour, alongside Ted Neeley who also reprised his role as Jesus. Carl and Ted had both agreed to do the tour only if they got to work together. Initially planned for three months, the production lasted another five years and grossed over $100 million, visiting over 50 North American cities, including the Paramount Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, the Fox Theaters in Detroit, St. Louis and Atlanta, the Morris Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore, The Orpheum in San Francisco, Providence Performing Arts Center in Providence, RI, the Wang Center and Shubert Theater during multiple returns to Boston as well as dates in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Miami, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. All these showings allowed Carl to reprise his role over 1,700 times.

In 1997, Anderson performed on Broadway in an adaptation of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night called Play On! featuring the music of Duke Ellington, playing The Duke. Beginning in 1998, and in later years of his life, Carl reprised his role as Judas in Superstar to sold-out auditoriums around the world.

One of his later albums, Why We Are Here! was recorded at the Agape International Spiritual Center, then located in Santa Monica California. He continued to perform, with Linda Eder in a show called "Once in a Lifetime" produced by Eder's then-husband Frank Wildhorn.

In 2002, a national tour of Superstar began with ex-Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach playing Jesus, and Anderson once again as Judas. Bach received mixed reviews while Carl was again praised. In April 2003, following a disagreement with the director, Bach was replaced with Broadway star Eric Kunze, who was touring as Annas and a Jesus understudy. Carl eventually left the show after being diagnosed with leukemia; he was replaced by Lawrence Clayton, who had appeared as Simon and understudied Judas in the previous national tour.

Carl lost his battle with leukemia on February 23, 2004. He was slated to reprise his role with Neeley for the "Farewell Tour" in 2006. Corey Glover, famous for being the lead singer of the band Living Colour, was cast for the tour's Judas. Glover left the show on December 2008 and now actor James Delisco is the tour's Judas.

The Leonard Cohen / Anjani song "Nightingale" from 2004 was made in his memory.



  • Jesus Christ Superstar - Orig. Motion Picture Soundtrack - 1973
  • Stevie Wonder - Songs in the Key of Life - 1976
  • Menage a Trois - Manage a Trois - 1980
  • Absence Without Love - 1982 - Epic
  • On and On - 1983 - Epic
  • Weather Report - Domino Theory - 1983
  • Weather Report - Sportin' Life - 1984
  • Kenny Loggins - Vox Humana - 1985
  • Protocol - 1985 - Epic
  • Carl Anderson - 1986 - Epic US #87
  • Joe Zawinul - Dialects - 1986
  • Nancy Wilson - Forbidden Lover - 1987
  • Rippingtons - Best of the Rippingtons - 1987
  • Maynard Ferguson - High Voltage - 1988
  • Kazu Matsui - Time No Longer - 1988
  • Act of Love - 1988 - Polydor
  • Dan Siegel - Late One Night - 1989
  • Keiko Matsui - Drop of Water - 1989
  • Rippingtons - Tourist in Paradise - 1989
  • The Zawinul Syndicate - Black Water - 1989
  • GRP Artists - GRP: On the Cutting Edge - 1989
  • Nancy Wilson - Lady with a Song - 1990
  • Rippingtons - Welcome to the St. James' Club - 1990
  • Peabo Bryson - Can You Stop the Rain - 1991
  • Pieces of a Heart - 1991 - GRP
  • Garfield (GRP Artists) - Am I Cool or What! - 1991
  • Richard Elliot - On the Town - 1991
  • Don Grusin - Zephyr - 1991
  • George Howard - Do I Ever Cross Your Mind? - 1992
  • Fantasy Hotel - 1992 - GRP
  • GRP Artists - GRP 10th Anniversary Collection - 1992
  • Rippingtons - Live in L.A. - 1992
  • Eric Marienthal - One Touch - 1993
  • Heavy Weather/Sunlight Again - 1994 - GRP
  • Jazz Live - Jazz Live - 1994
  • Kevin Toney - Pastel Mood - 1995
  • Michael Paulo - My Heart and Soul - 1996
  • Tim Rice - Collection: Stage & Screen Classics - 1996
  • Why We Are Here! - 1997 - Abu Khalil
  • Play On! - Original Cast Recording - 1997
  • Tis the Season - Tis the Season - 1997
  • Nils - Blue Planet - 1998
  • George DeLaRue - The London Sessions - 1998
  • Civil War- The Concept Album - 1998
  • Brenda Russell- Paris Rain 1998
  • Jesus Christ Superstar - 25th Anniversary Re-Issue - 1998
  • Michael Paulo - Midnight Passion - 1999
  • Gerald McCauley - McCauley Sessions - 1999
  • L.A. Jazz Syndicate - L.A. Jazz Syndicate, Vol. 2 - 1999
  • Oceans - Ridin' the Tide - 1999
  • Hymn of Asia - Golden Era - 1999
  • Linda Eder- Gold-2002

Stage Work


  • Jesus Christ Superstar (pre-Broadway) (1971)
  • Jesus Christ Superstar (1971, Broadway as an understudy, later took turns regularly with Ben Vereen)
  • Jesus Christ Superstar (late 1970's, two performances for the California Youth Theatre organization)
  • Jesus Christ Superstar (U.S. tour, 1992-1997)
  • Jesus Christ Superstar (1998)
  • Jesus Christ Superstar (1999-2000, Italian tour, also artistic director)
  • Jesus Christ Superstar (2002-2003)


  • Then Play On - The Duke (1997)
  • Once in a Lifetime

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