Michael Lamont, who went from acting in Bye Bye Birdie and Oliver! on Broadway to a career as photographer for studios, theaters and actors, has died. He was 76. According to Patty Onagan, publicist for Lamont’s wife Kay Cole, he died May 21 in North Hollywood of Alzheimer’s complications.
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Born on April 3, 1947 in Hoboken, NJ, Lamont moved to New York City in his teens to pursue an acting career. It was in the original 1960 production of Bye Bye Birdie where he met Cole, whom he would marry nearly three decades later. He went on to appear in several Broadway shows during the 1960s and early ’70s, including Oliver! and Jesus Christ Superstar, before relocating to Los Angeles.
Once on the West Coast, Lamont guested on a few TV series and drummed in a rock band before an actor friend asked him to photograph his headshots, and soon was being recommended by agents and casting directors. While doing a photo session, his agent called, and Lamont heard himself say “I can’t talk to you now, I’m shooting” and knew his journey had changed. He remembered Sanford Meisner — under whom Lamont had studied as a child actor in New York — saying, “You can only commit to one passion at a time.”
He expanded into shooting theater productions and in 1989 was sponsored by Universal Studios to join the International Cinematographers Guild, IATSE Local 600, and began shooting unit and publicity for the studios. From his North Hollywood studio, he continued to do headshots, celebrity portraits, CD covers, posters, marketing, publicity, and production video.
His production and institutional photography credits include The Geffen Playhouse, Pasadena Playhouse, The Old Globe, Deaf West Theatre, Colony Theatre, East West Players, NoHo Arts Center, Reprise, Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and magazines. He also shot for Broadway productions of Peter Pan in the late-’90s and Bring It On: The Musical in 2012.
Along Cole, Lamont is survived by his brother, Francis Lamolino (Lucy); his niece Jo Ann Gattsek (Ed); his nephew, Michael Lamolino (Jessica); and grandniece Katie Lamolino.
The family asks that donations in Lamont’s memory be made to St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, MT.
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