The Rev. Timothy Wright was known as the "Godfather of Gospel." (Associated Press)
Marilyn Cooper

Broadway star won a Tony Award

Marilyn Cooper, 74, a Broadway actress best known for her Tony-winning performance in the musical "Woman of the Year," died Wednesday after a long illness at the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, N.J., said Virginia Seidel, a family friend.

Cooper was a chorus member in the original Broadway casts of such classic musicals as "West Side Story" (1957) and "Gypsy" (1959). She made her Broadway debut in the 1956 Sammy Davis Jr. musical "Mr. Wonderful" and also appeared in "I Can Get It for You Wholesale" (1962), "Hallelujah, Baby!" (1967), "Golden Rainbow" (1968), "Two by Two" (1970) and "Ballroom" (1978), among others.

But it was a show-stopping duet with Lauren Bacall in the Kander and Ebb musical "Woman of the Year" (1981) that won Cooper a Tony Award for featured actress in a musical.

She also appeared in several Neil Simon comedies, including the female version of "The Odd Couple" (1985) and "Broadway Bound" (1986).

On television, Cooper had a memorable role on "Cheers" as Lilith's meddling mother.

Rev. Timothy Wright

Gospel singer and composer

The Rev. Timothy Wright, 61, a Grammy-nominated gospel singer and composer known for his up-tempo praise songs and powerful mass choir sound, died Thursday at Bronx Veterans Hospital in New York, music agent Will Bogle said.

Wright was left paralyzed from the neck down by a car crash last summer that killed his wife and grandson. He had been in poor health since.

Dubbed the Godfather of Gospel, Wright was the pastor at Brooklyn's Grace Tabernacle Christian Center Church of God in Christ.

He released more than a dozen gospel recordings, writing many of the songs. His latest album, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus," came out in 2007.

In 1994, his record "Come Thou Almighty King," with the New York Fellowship Mass Choir, made the Billboard Top 20 charts for gospel albums and was nominated for a Grammy Award for best traditional soul gospel album.

He got another nomination in that category in 1999 for "Been There Done That," recorded with the B/J Mass Choir and featuring Myrna Summers.

According to the book "Uncloudy Days: The Gospel Encyclopedia," by Bil Carpenter, the Brooklyn-born Wright began playing piano for his local church at 12 and also began composing at a young age.

Wright was critically injured July 4 in a three-vehicle crash on Interstate 80 near Loganton, Pa. Another car was going the wrong way when it struck Wright's car. His wife, Betty Wright, 58, was killed in the crash, and their 14-year-old grandson, D.J. Wright, died later at a hospital. The driver of the wrong-way car, John Pick, also was killed, and a passenger in a third car was injured. The Wrights were returning home from a church conference in Detroit.

-- times staff and wire reports