Brian Tarantina, a character actor known for playing a comedy club M.C. on the Emmy Award-winning series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” was found dead on Saturday at his home in Manhattan. He was 60.
His publicist, Laurie Smith, confirmed his death. She said Mr. Tarantina died of complications from a severe health crisis he experienced a few months ago.
About 12:40 a.m., police officers responded to a call of an unconscious male inside an apartment in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York. Officers said they found Mr. Tarantina unresponsive on his couch and pronounced him dead at the scene. The medical examiner’s office will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
Mr. Tarantina, a Manhattan native, attended a performing arts school now known as the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, where he began pursuing an acting career. In the 1980s, he appeared in Broadway productions including “Angels Fall” and “Biloxi Blues.” Mr. Tarantina had parts on the daytime soap opera “One Life to Live” in the 1990s and mid-2000s.
Mr. Tarantina took on film roles as well, including appearances in “Uncle Buck,” “Summer of Sam,” and “Knight and Day.”
In the popular mother-and-daughter comedy series “Gilmore Girls,” he played Bootsy, the owner of a newsstand in the fictional town of Stars Hollow. He appeared on the series in 2001 and 2002 as well as in the 2016 Netflix mini-series “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.”
More recently, Mr. Tarantina is perhaps best known for his work on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” which last year won the Emmy for outstanding comedy series. In the show, he plays Jackie, the M.C. at the Gaslight comedy club, where Midge Maisel, the housewife-turned-comic played by Rachel Brosnahan, got her unwitting start.
In January, Mr. Tarantina appeared onstage with his fellow cast members to accept the Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding ensemble in a comedy series. A publicist for the series said Mr. Tarantina will appear on the third season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” which returns Dec. 6.
On Instagram, Ms. Brosnahan mourned the loss of her castmate.
“He was hilarious and talented and kind,” she said. “Our family of weirds won’t be the same without him.”
The show’s creators, Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, said in a statement that Mr. Tarantina had been in their lives for more than 25 years.
“He was in Amy’s first pilot. And he’s been in every significant thing we’ve done. He came in with that voice and that timing and he made every scene better. And weirder,” they said.
“Every moment was completely unique,” they added. “You can’t describe a guy like Brian, you just had to be there. And lucky for us, we were. We love him and will miss him forever.”
Mr. Tarantina is survived by a son, Sean; a sister, Claire; and a brother, according to his sister.
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