Russell Nype was born in Zion, Illinois. He made his Broadway debut as a baritone in the 1949 opera Regina. Nype’s breakthrough role was undeniably that of diplomat Kenneth Gibson in the 1950 production of Irving Berlin’s Call Me Madam, in which he starred opposite Ethel Merman. He received the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance, and his crew cut and black-rimmed glasses were a popular look. His second Tony Award came for co-starring with Elaine Stritch in the 1958 musical Goldilocks.
He appeared in numerous regional productions and was a regular in the 1950s at Pennsylvania’s Bucks County Playhouse. Nype also went on the road with Ethel Merman for tours of Call Me Madam. He reunited with her once more in 1970 in the cast of the long-running Hello, Dolly! His last Broadway appearance was in 1981, when he joined the cast of Mornings at Seven. Nype’s talent was not confined to Broadway, however, as his feature film credits include the 1970 hit Love Story and Can’t Stop the Music in 1980. His television appearances span more than 40 years with episodic roles on such favorites as The Cosby Show; Fantasy Island; Murder, She Wrote; One Day at a Time; Studio One and Who’s the Boss?
Nype was first introduced to the Kennebunks when he was called upon to guest star at Kennebunkport Playhouse, Robert Currier’s theatrical operation from 1933 to 1971. Nype admits that at the time, he had never heard of Kennebunkport but soon learned that it attracted “all the great actors.” He bought a house in Kennebunkport in the late 1950s and maintains a summer residence in Maine to this day, in addition to a New York home.