Pamela Blair, who because the sassy and profane dancer Val within the authentic manufacturing of “A Refrain Line” delivered a showstopping tune about enhancing her breasts and butt with silicone to get work as an actress, died on Sunday at her house in Mesa, Ariz. She was 73.
Her former husband, the director Don Scardino, mentioned the trigger was problems of colon surgical procedure, together with pneumonia and sepsis. She additionally had Clippers illness, a power irritation of the central nervous system.
Ms. Blair was one of many performers who have been invited to the workshops the place “A Refrain Line” was developed, and who informed the inventive group — led by Michael Bennett, who conceived, directed and choreographed the present — deeply private tales, which have been used as materials to construct its characters.
“The core of Val got here from the anarchic character that was Pam,” Mr. Scardino mentioned in a cellphone interview.
Ms. Blair’s brassy solo, “Dance: Ten; Appears to be like: Three” (a reference to the grades Val bought at an audition earlier than present process beauty surgical procedure), was a paean to the advantages of silicone, amongst them the nationwide excursions Val was employed for. (Ms. Blair herself mentioned she didn’t have her breasts enhanced.)
In a quantity written, like the remainder of the present’s rating, by Marvin Hamlisch (music) and Edward Kliban (lyrics), Val sings, partially: “It’s a fuel, only a sprint of silicone/Shake your new maracas and also you’re effective.”
The place the cabinet as soon as was naked
Now you knock and somebody’s there
You’ve got ‘em, hey, high to backside, hey.
In reviewing “A Refrain Line” in its pre-Broadway run on the Public Theater within the East Village, Allan Wallach of Newsday known as Ms. Blair “a marvelously defiant blonde” and Douglas Watt of The Day by day Information of New York described her as “blonde and saucy.” After transferring to Broadway in 1975, the present ran for six,137 performances. Ms. Blair stayed with it for a few yr earlier than becoming a member of the nationwide tour.
In 1980, Ms. Blair recalled the expertise of singing “Dance Ten; Appears to be like Three.”
“After I sang that tune, I actually was like that woman,” she informed The Hartford Courant. “I used to be blond. I used to be dumb. I didn’t know what I used to be doing. However I assumed, ‘Rattling it, I’m an actress too.’”
She returned to Broadway in 1978, first within the musical “The Finest Little Whorehouse in Texas,” by which she performed a prostitute, and later that yr in one other musical, “King of Hearts,” by which she performed the youngest inmate in a psychological hospital.
She made her closing Broadway look in 1990 when she changed Megan Gallagher as Lt. Cmdr. Joanne Galloway, the one feminine character in Aaron Sorkin’s army drama “A Few Good Males.”
“It was nice at first, being the one woman with all these guys,” she informed The Day by day Information in 1990. “But it surely didn’t final. Now they deal with me like considered one of them. I get no respect. They go round backstage of their holey underwear — and even much less!”
Ms. Blair was additionally seen on cleaning soap operas like “Loving” and “One other World”; on prime-time collection like “The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”; and in movies like John Huston’s model of the musical “Annie” (1982) and Woody Allen’s “Mighty Aphrodite” (1995).
Pamela Blair was born on Dec. 5, 1949, in Bennington, Vt. Her father, Edgar, labored at an organization that made plastic molds. Her mom, Geraldine (Cummings) Blair, was a homemaker who labored half time in an area Christmas store and as a library volunteer.
When Ms. Blair was 16, she entered the Nationwide Ballet Academy New York. She met Mr. Bennett throughout a category there, which led to her being forged in her first Broadway function, within the 1968 musical “Guarantees, Guarantees,” which he choreographed.
In 1972 and 1973, Ms. Blair performed a number of roles in “Sugar,” a musical adaptation of the Billy Wilder comedy “Some Like It Sizzling” (unrelated to the present Broadway adaptation). She was the understudy for the title function, Sugar Kane, which Marilyn Monroe had performed within the 1959 movie, and changed Elaine Joyce when she went on trip.
When requested the way it felt to star in “Sugar,” she informed the syndicated columnist Leonard Lyons: “I wasn’t that nervous. The butterflies hadn’t developed — they have been nonetheless caterpillars.”
In 1973, she performed one other small function within the musical “Seesaw,” for which Mr. Bennett was the director and considered one of two choreographers. A yr later, she was forged because the seductive character recognized solely as “Curley’s spouse” in John Steinbeck’s stage adaptation of his novel “Of Mice and Males,” which starred James Earl Jones and Kevin Conway.
“I can’t let you know how affected I used to be by appearing with James Earl Jones,” she informed Newsday. “To do a scene with him was so thrilling. I might lose myself in him. I would like that once more.”
She continued to work on TV and in movies by 2009. By then, she had moved to Arizona and turn into a bodily and therapeutic massage therapist, though she return to the stage to play Miss Mona, who runs the Hen Ranch brothel, in a 2006 Phoenix manufacturing of “Finest Little Whorehouse.”
Ms. Blair is survived by a sister, Cheryl Onerous. Her marriages to Alfred Feola and Mr. Scardino resulted in divorce.
In 1980, Ms. Blair recalled the stress she felt whereas she was in “A Refrain Line,” primarily due to Mr. Bennett.
“He made you dwell the present,” she informed The Courant. “I imply, he’d make you suppose you have been gonna be fired at any second.”
Close to the tip of her time within the present, she watched it from a seat within the viewers.
“I assumed we have been all so sad and but we have been giving folks such pleasure,” she mentioned. “I cried throughout the finale, and I keep in mind pondering: This present was a miracle. Why couldn’t I’ve loved it whereas it was occurring?”