Kyle Jean-Baptiste, History-Making 'Les Miserables' Actor, Dies at 21

Kyle Jean-Baptiste
Courtesy Photo

Broadway actor Kyle Jean-Baptiste

The Broadway newcomer died from falling off his mother's fire escape.

Kyle Jean-Baptiste, an actor who recently made his Broadway debut in the current revival of Les Miserables, died Friday evening after falling from a fire escape at his mother's home. He was 21.

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Broadway World confirmed the news of his passing in a statement from the company: "The entire Les Miserables family is shocked and devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of Kyle, a remarkable young talent and tremendous person who made magic -- and history -- in his Broadway debut. We send our deepest condolences to his family and ask that you respect their privacy in this unimaginably difficult time."

Jean-Baptiste made history earlier in August when the African American actor went on as understudy in the lead role of Jean Valjean, becoming the youngest actor to appear on Broadway in the part and also the first African American.

"Thursday is my last Valjean on Broadway. The ability to play this part on Broadway has been life changing," he tweeted Aug. 25.

Kristin Chenoweth tweeted, "RIP Kyle Jean-Baptiste. My love and hugs to his family. And the cast of @LesMiserables." Josh Groban also shared his condolences on social media: "He was just getting started. So sad. My condolences as well to family and cast."

Jean-Baptiste was a recent graduate of Baldwin Wallace; prior to Broadway he had appeared in a number of regional theater productions, including Les MiserablesMurder BalladSingin' in the Rain and The Music Man.

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