Doreen Montalvo (Photo by Emilio Madrid for Broadway.com)
Doreen Montalvo, who was last seen on Broadway in Mrs. Doubtfire, has passed away at the age of 56. According to The Hollywood Reporter, her manager Steve Maihack confirmed that she passed away on October 17 after a sudden ailment.
Born and raised in the Bronx, Montalvo grew up idolizing Rita Moreno and Chita Rivera in movie musicals. Prior to pursuing theater professionally, she focused on a career in broadcast journalism. “I was ready to become the Latina Barbara Walters. I loved it, but there was something missing in my soul,” she told Broadway.com earlier this year.
Montalvo made her Broadway debut in Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s first Tony-winning smash, In the Heights. She will be seen and heard in the forthcoming big screen adaptation of the show, which is scheduled to premiere in theaters on June 18, 2021. Montalvo is also part of the cast of the upcoming West Side Story film.
Miranda paid tribute to Montalvo and her role in the creation of In the Heights in a series of tweets:
Doreen Montalvo was the first actress to audition for In The Heights in the basement of the Drama Book Shop in 2002. The first one. She sang La Lupe’s Qué Te Pedi and embedded herself in my heart in an instant. Her voice was had that tear in it–that lágrima. Inimitable & hers. pic.twitter.com/hLwT34XQ5w
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) October 18, 2020
In addition to In the Heights, Montalvo also appeared in On Your Feet!, first in the ensemble and then taking over the featured role of Gloria Fajardo for the musical’s final six months. Prior to the Broadway shutdown, she had performed in Mrs. Doubtfire as TV executive Janet Lundy—a role originated by Robert Prosky in the beloved 1993 film starring Robin Williams.
Her off-Broadway credits included The Curvy Widow and Giant. Her screen credits included FX’s Fosse/Verdon, Madam Secretary and more.
Montalvo is survived by her husband Michael Mann, who she married in 2010; she was stepmother to his three children.