Iconic Actor Paxton Whitehead, Renowned Tony Award Nominee and Beloved ‘Friends’ Cast Member, Passes Away at Age 85

Paxton Whitehead, a respected British actor known for his work in theater, television, and film, has passed away at the age of 85. The news of his demise was confirmed by his son, Charles Whitehead, to The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday. The exact cause of his death has not been disclosed.


Whitehead’s talent and versatility allowed him to leave a lasting impact in various popular productions. Fans of the hit sitcom Friends may remember him for his memorable cameo as Rachel’s boss at Bloomingdales during the show’s fourth season in 1998. His notable appearances extend to other beloved ’90s shows like Mad About You, The West Wing, Frasier, and Ellen. According to IMDB, his final television appearance was in the 2011 TV film The Importance of Being Earnest.

Following the news of his passing, tributes have poured in from his friends and former co-stars. Actress Dana Ivy took to Twitter to share a heartfelt message along with a photo of herself and Whitehead, expressing her grief at the loss of her beloved friend. Jim Piddock, another actor who worked with Whitehead, also expressed his heartbreak, describing him as an extraordinary actor and a wonderful human being who brought joy to everyone he encountered.

Paxton Whitehead died on Friday June 16. ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

The theater industry mourns the loss of one of its veterans, as Broadway World tweeted their sadness over Whitehead’s death. Born in Kent, England, Whitehead’s successful career began when he was signed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in London at the age of 21 in 1958. Four years later, he made his debut on Broadway in Ronald Miller’s play The Affair and garnered a Tony Award nomination in 1981 for his performance as Pellinore in the 1980 adaptation of Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot, alongside Richard Burton.

While continuing his stage work on both the West End and Broadway, Whitehead transitioned into television and film during the same decade. His notable stage performances included My Fair Lady, Lettice and Lovage, and Noises Off. He also appeared in films such as Baby Boom (1987), The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993), My Boyfriend’s Back (1993), and Kate and Leopold (2001).

Whitehead appeared in season four of Friends in 1998. ALICE S. HALL/NBCU PHOTO BANK/NBCUNIVERSAL VIA GETTY IMAGES VIA GETTY IMAGES

Whitehead is survived by his son, daughter Sarah, and his wife Katherine Jane Robertson, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. The entertainment industry and his fans will remember him for his remarkable contributions and the legacy he leaves behind.

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