LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Robert Goulet, the handsome, big-voiced baritone whose Broadway debut in "Camelot" launched an award-winning stage and recording career, has died. He was 73.
The singer died Tuesday morning in a Los Angeles hospital while awaiting a lung transplant, said Goulet spokesman Norm Johnson.
He had been awaiting a lung transplant at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after being diagnosed with a rare form of pulmonary fibrosis in September.
Goulet had remained in good spirits even as he waited for the critically needed transplant, said Vera Goulet, his wife of 25 years. "Just watch my vocal cords," she said he told doctors before they inserted a breathing tube.
Vera says they were last able to speak three weeks ago, before he was put on a respirator.
Longtime friend Wayne Newton says Goulet's sense of humor "kept my spirits up in some of the lowest valleys in my life."
"His incredible voice will live on in his music, and as Bob so brilliantly sang, 'There will be another song for him and he will sing it,' for God now has another singing angel by his side," says Newton.
The Massachusetts-born Goulet, who spent much of his youth in Canada, gained stardom in 1960 with his Broadway debut in "Camelot," the Lerner and Loewe musical that starred Richard Burton as King Arthur and Julie Andrews as his Queen Guenevere.
Goulet played Sir Lancelot, the arrogant French knight who falls in love with Guenevere.
He became a hit with American TV viewers with multiple appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and other programs. Sullivan had labeled him the "American baritone from Canada," where he had already been a popular star in the 1950s, hosting his own show on CBC-TV called "General Electric's Showtime."
The Los Angeles Times wrote in 1963 that Goulet "is popping up in specials so often these days that you almost feel he has a weekly show. The handsome lad is about the hottest item in show business since his Broadway debut."
Goulet won a Grammy Award in 1962 for Best New Artist and made the singles chart in 1964 with "My Love Forgive Me."
"When I'm using a microphone or doing recordings I try to concentrate on the emotional content of the song and to forget about the voice itself," he told The New York Times in 1962. "Sometimes I think that if you sing with a big voice, the people in the audience don't listen to the words, as they should. They just listen to the sound."
While he returned to Broadway only infrequently after "Camelot," he did win a Tony award in 1968 for best actor in a musical for his starring role in "The Happy Time." His other Broadway appearances were in "Moon Over Buffalo," in 1995, and "La Cage aux Folles," 2005, plus a "Camelot" revival in 1993 in which he played King Arthur.
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