Robert LuPone Dies: Patti LuPone Tributes Late Brother and ‘Sopranos’ Actor

by Chris Piner

Debuting on Broadway in 1973 with the musical Three Sisters, Patti Ann LuPone showcased her talent on the stage, leading her to win three Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, and two Olivier Awards. Not to mention in 2006 she was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. Besides the star status for her acting and singing, Patti’s most cherished title was that of sister to Robert LuPone. Sadly, Robert passed away on July 27th after battling pancreatic cancer. 

Remembering her late brother, who was a star himself, Patti Ann LuPone recalled when her older brother first fell in with dancing and the stage. “My brother Bobby was an unparalleled dancer. And it all started when he saw me in a dance recital wearing a hula skirt. I was 4, he was 7.” That love for the stage and arts carried both Patti and Robert to getting accepted into Juilliard. For Robert, his time at the prestigious school entailed studying dance. For Patti, her path led her to study theater. But again, that didn’t stop Patti from branching into Broadway. 

Both Patti And Robert LuPone Showered Each Other With Compliments

Back in 1998, Robert LuPone discussed his career in theater and dance, explaining how much he cherished dancing with his sister when they were younger. “There was a tap dance that we did together, and I have her in a lift. That’s the picture. I’m wearing a white, fake silk [shirt] and white satin pants with tap shoes, and I think she’s wearing a dress with sequins and she had no front teeth.”

Featuring both Robert and Patti LuPone, the interview was full of compliments from the siblings. Patti declared, “When I first saw Bobby dance at Juilliard, it was just mind-blowing. Bobby was a phenomenal, phenomenal dancer.”

While siblings are known for fighting and their differences, Robert LuPone admitted to using dance to reconnect with each other. “I’m happy to say that we’ve truly worked through [any problems], and it’s so interesting to be so close again as we once were. What happened is a result of [Patti having] her own family and being a mother herself and both of us maturing and wanting to reconnect. The devotion we had as kids has been rekindled.”

Just a year after the interview, Robert LuPone transitioned into television, receiving a role on the hit HBO series, The Sopranos. Also helping create the MCC Theater, the Off-Broadway company released a statement after his death, reading, “The MCC Theater community mourns the loss of our much loved and uniquely inspiring partner, colleague, and dear friend, Bob LuPone, who lived fearlessly and with great curiosity, good humor, a boundless passion for connection, and a whole lot of heart. We will miss him deeply and always.” Robert was 76 at the time.