• Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
Roger Rees, Obit

Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

Roger Rees, a Tony-winning Broadway star who appeared on shows such as Cheers and The West Wing, has died at age 71.

The Welsh-born actor passed away on Friday after battling an illness, his rep confirmed to E! News.

Rees, who had lived in the United States for the past couple of decades, is survived by his longtime partner and husband of almost four years, Jersey Boys musical co-writer and former stage actor Rick Elice, 58.

Like many U.K. stars, Rees began his career in the theatre. In 1982, Rees won Tony and Olivier awards for his lead role in Broadway and Royal Shakespeare Company productions of The Life And Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, an adaptation of the famous Charles Dickens novel. In 2011, he played Gomez Adams in The Addams Family musical on Broadway.

Rees made his onscreen debut in the mid-70s. In 1984, he appeared in the TV movie The Ebony Tower with Sir Laurence Olivier. In 1989, he began playing the recurring character of Robin Colcord, a love interest of Kirstie Alley's Rebecca Howe on the hit sitcom Cheers.

"He is the sweetest man in the world!" Alley said on Twitter on Saturday. "Lucky to have had him as a friend and to have worked beside such greatness."

Cheers, Roger Rees, Kirstie Alley


Rees went on to star on shows such as Boston Common, M.A.N.T.I.S., The West Wing, in which he played British Ambassador Lord John Marbury, Grey's Anatomy, in which he portrayed Dr. Colin Marlow, and also played James MacPherson in Warehouse 13.

Rees also appeared in movies such as The Scorpion King and the 2006 remake of The Pink Panther.

In 1993, the year Cheers ended its 11-season run, Rees portrayed the Sheriff of Rottingham in Mel Brooks' satirical cult comedy film Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

"So sad about the passing of #RogerRees," co-star Cary Elwes, who played Robin Hood and is also known for his role as Westley in The Princess Bride, wrote on his WhoSay page on Saturday. "A beautiful human being and an incredible talent. My condolences to his family #rottingham #rhmit #robinhoodmenintights #melbrooks."