February 21, 2005
John Raitt, the ruggedly handsome musical theater leading man who launched his Broadway career in Rodgers & Hammerstein's 1945 hit Carousel and later co-starred in The Pajama Game on Broadway and in the film version, died on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2005, at his Pacific Palisades, Calif., home. He was 88. Raitt was the father of Grammy-winning singer Bonnie Raitt. He played Curly in the national tour of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! in 1944, before he was cast as carnival carousel operator Billy Bigelow in Carousel, in which he sang "If I Loved You" with Jan Clayton, and "Soliloquy," the show-stopping solo that displayed his vocal range and virtuosity. It was not until 1954 that he had his second Broadway hit, playing opposite Janis Paige in The Pajama Game, in which he introduced the classic ballad "Hey, There." Raitt reprised his role of the Sleep Tite Pajama Factory superintendent in the 1957 film co-starring Doris Day, shown here.