Who is Clifton Oliver? All about the Broadway star who dies at age 47

Clifton Oliver has died at the age of 47. (Images via Getty Images)
Clifton Oliver has died at the age of 47. (Images via Getty Images)

Clifton Oliver, the man who played Simba in the Broadway show, The Lion King, passed away on August 2, 2023. RDC News reported that his time of death was around 3:20 am. Clifton was originally from Jacksonville, Florida, but later moved to New York to pursue his career as a performer. He reportedly succumbed to an undisclosed lengthy illness.

His sister, Roxy Hall, broke the news on Facebook, where she wrote, "My baby brother, Clifton Oliver, has had his final curtain call." According to Deadline, Roxy revealed that Clifton was first hospitalized and then kept in hospice care for six weeks. She said,

"It was peaceful. His partner Richard was singing to him the song Psalm 23 as he took his last breath this morning at 3:20 AM."

The life of Clifton Oliver

Born on December 3, 1975, Clifton Oliver was a native of Jacksonville, Florida, and received his education from the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, according to 9 News. The actor later went to Savannah State University for a graduation degree.

Oliver went on to pursue his Broadway career in 2010 by moving to New York City. He started out by being in the replacement cast of the Broadway show In The Heights, working opposite Jordin Sparks as Benny.


The actor and singer is well known for playing the character of Simba in the Broadway production of The Lion King. Clifton was reportedly picked out of the crowd by the creator of The Lion King Musical, Julie Taymor.

He also played in the ensemble and as Fiyero for the Wicked musical.

The other roles and tours of Clifton Oliver

As reported by RDC News, Clifton had impressive talent and was kind, loving, and generous - traits that helped him impress Berry Gordy who cast Oliver to play himself in Motown. Oliver toured for the same role in Motown The Musical.

Clifton enjoyed success as a performer and was known as a Broadway Star. He went on a National tour for The Lion King Musical as Simba on the Disney musical stages of Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

The actor was also a part of several regional shows like Kinky Boots, Rent, Rag Time, Pal Joey, and many others.

Tributes pour in for the Broadway Star

After the news of Clifton Oliver's death was made public on Wednesday, many colleagues, loved ones, and admirers went on the internet to share their condolences.

Fellow Broadway performer, Kevin Smith Kirkwood, went on Facebook to post a long, emotional message after he heard the news of Oliver's passing.

"We lost another bright light this morning. Clifton Oliver. You were and always will be a star!" he wrote.

He continued by talking about his first impression of Clifton when they met:

"We met over 20 years ago. You seemed almost invincible to me! Such a beautiful man and sweet soul."

Kevin also expressed his regret for not following up with him after they last met:

"Last time I saw you at an audition for Aint No Mo, we were up for the same role but it was always love. I could tell then you didn’t seem like your old self. Wish I had checked in more… I will cherish our time with you in Kinky Boots Chicago."

Other friends and loved ones also posted on Facebook.

Clifton Oliver's family thanked the people who paid tributes for Clifton and shared that the funeral arrangements have not been decided yet, according to E! News.

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