Broadway was Al Hirschfeld’s true love. As The Hirschfeld Century curator, David Leopold put it, “when you were talking Broadway, you were talking Hirschfeld and vice versa.” Equally central to Broadway history is the Tonys. To celebrate the 69th annual award ceremony taking place this Sunday, June 7 at Radio City Music Hall, we’re highlight just four of the many Tony winners drawn by the “Line King.” To see these original works and over 100 others, check out our comprehensive retrospective, The Hirschfeld Century on view through October 20.
Singer and actress Carol Channing was first nominated for a Tony award for her role in the 1956 production of The Vamp. But her biggest success wouldn’t come until 1964 when her larger-than-life character, a matchmaker named Dolly Levi in the Broadway hit Hello, Dolly! earned Channing a Tony: Best Actress in a Musical. During the production’s run, she performed in 5,000 shows—only ever missing one. Over her long and fruitful career, she was nominated for four Tonys and won three.
American comedian and actor Zero Mostel’s unexpected performance in the 1961 production of Rhinoceros earned him two distinct accolades: a Hirschfeld portrait and a Tony award. Despite playing a supporting role, he won Best Actor. In this Hirschfeld caricature, he’s drawn alongside his co-star, Eli Wallach.
One of the most decorated performers in Broadway history is Tommy Tune. The six-foot-six Texan quadruple threat has collected nine Tonys in his lifetime for directing, choreography, acting, and dancing. Just five weeks before Hirschfeld’s death, his elegant drawing of Tune graced the pages of The New York Times. The caricature captures Tune’s seemingly effortless dance moves. Tune has appeared in more than 20 Broadway musicals since 1965 and this Sunday will be honored with his tenth Tony, for lifetime achievement.
Last but not least is Whoopi Goldberg. As a renaissance woman, she is one of the few performers to have earned an EGOT (an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony—yes, she’s won all four!). Almost two decades before she clenched the “T” in her EGOT, Goldberg’s 1984 one-woman show merited a Hirschfeld portrait.