On this day, in 1918, Robert Preston (1918-1987) was born. The Tony Award-winner is most known for originating the role of Professor Harold Hill in the 1957 musical, The Music Man.
After serving with the United States Army Air Forces in World War II, Preston (born Robert Preston Meservey) started appearing in films. Soon, he was on Broadway, starring in the original production of Meredith Willson's beloved musical of a con man who falls in love with the town's librarian. It was a smash hit. The show garnerned nine Tony Award nominations, winning six, including Best Musical.
The 1962 film adaptation also starred Preston (though movie executives wanted to have Frank Sinatra or Cary Grant to play the roll of Harold Hill). His costars included Shirley Jones and Buddy Hackett. The movie was also a success, becoming the 5th highest grossing film of 1962. It was nominated for six Academy Awards (including Best Picture) and won one for Best Musical Score.
Preston would go on to win another Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical in 1967 for I Do! I Do!.
He was in the Blake Edwards movie Victor/Victoria. It would garner him his only Academy Award nomination.
An intensely private person, he died of lung cancer in 1987.
From The Music Man movie:
And here are those trombones: