Friday, May 25, 2001

Francis Ruivivar, 40,
was a leading man in
2 Broadway musicals

He was the first Asian to play
the Engineer in "Miss Saigon"

More obituaries

Star Bulletin staff

Francis Ruivivar, who played the leading man in two Broadway musicals, died Wednesday in Las Vegas. He was 40.

He had been battling chronic myelogenous leukemia at Mountain View Hospital in Las Vegas.

He is survived by his wife, Cathryn Croft.

Funeral services are planned for Honolulu and New York. Survivors also include nephews and nieces.

Society of Seven leader Tony Ruivivar said his youngest brother was "a special guy.

"Of all of us, he was the most talented," said Tony Ruivivar. "He always lit up the room where ever he went. He was always full of fun."

"He was my like my oldest son since I raised him and my own son (Anthony) looked up to his uncle Frank."

He said his son Anthony -- who now has a lead role in the NBC's "Third Watch" television series as Carlos, a paramedic -- always asked about his "uncle Frank."

Francis Ruivivar was the first Asian actor-singer to portray the Engineer in the long-running "Miss Saigon" musical. He also originated the role of Lord Toranaga in "Shogun, the Musical," musical based on the novel by James Clavell.

Tony Ruivivar recalled how other members of his family have been stricken by cancer, starting with his parents. His brother Benny died in 1998; Danny in 1971.

Francis Ruivivar graduated from Kalani High School in 1979. He earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Loretto Heights College in Denver.

Ruivivar co-starred in Stephen Sondheim's "Passion" and played Old Deuteronomy in "Cats."

Ruivivar also played the Cowardly Lion in a revival of "The Wizard of Oz." His most recent theatrical extravaganza was the Las Vegas-based "Notre Dame de Paris."

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