Biography of James Rado
James Rado (born James Radomski, January 23, 1932) is an American actor, writer and composer, best known as the co-author, along with Gerome Ragni, of 1967's groundbreaking American tribal love-rock musical Hair. He and Ragni were nominated for the 1969 Tony Award for best musical, and they won for best musical at the Grammy Awards in 1969.
He was raised in Rochester, N.Y. and Washington, D.C. In college, Rado majored in Speech and Drama and began writing songs. He co-authored two musical shows at the University of Maryland, Interlude and Interlude II. After graduation, followed by two years in the U.S. Navy, he returned to school in Washington, D.C. for graduate work at The Catholic University of America, where he co-authored a musical revue called Cross Your Fingers. He wrote the lyrics and music for all of his early songs.
He then moved to New York where he studied acting with Lee Strasberg and also wrote pop songs which he recorded with his own band, James Alexander and the Argyles. Rado's first Broadway show was Marathon '33 in 1963. In 1966, Rado originated the Broadway role of Richard Lionheart in The Lion in Winter by James Goldman, starring Robert Preston and Rosemary Harris.
He met Gerome Ragni in 1964, when they acted together in the off-Broadway play Hang Down Your Head and Die. Later, both Rado and Ragni were cast in the roles of Tom and Tolan in the Chicago company of Mike Nichols' production of The Knack, by Ann Jellicoe.