Nick Cordero may have made his name on Broadway playing the rough and tough guys, but those who knew him can not say enough about his warmth and kindness. Cordero died on Sunday at Cedars- Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from complications caused by COVID-19. He was only 41.
Born Sept. 17, 1978 as Nicholas Eduardo Alberto Cordero, in Hamilton, Ontario, both of his parents were teachers. His father immigrated from Costa Rica, while his mother, Lesley was from Ontario.
Considered a “drama kid,” Cordero spent his adolescence performing in shows at his school and local theaters. He briefly attended Toronto’s Ryerson University before dropping out to join a band called Love Method.
His winding career would lead him to go from working on Cruise Ships to staring in the touring cast of a Rock of Ages revival, where he would meet his wife, Amanda Kloots, who was at the time dancing in the chorus.
His wife, Amanda Kloots, posted a heartbreaking message on Instagram commemorating her husband’s life and legacy.
“Nick was such a bright light. He was everyone’s friend, loved to listen, help and especially talk. He was an incredible actor and musician. He loved his family and loved being a father and husband,” she wrote.
Cordero and his wife have a 1-year-old son, Elvis. The family relocated from New York to Los Angeles last year.
No direct cause has been cited for Cordero’s death, but he had been struggling with coronavirus related complications. He had been hospitalized for the past three months after contracting the disease.
He had already suffered through a medically induced coma and the amputation of his right leg. His wife had spoken in interviews about their hope for a double lung transplant for her husband.
As Codero struggled through his treatment, which included the use of a ventilator, dialysis and a specialized heart-lung bypass machine, his wife remained devoted, sharing a song he had written to social media titled “Live Your Life.”
In the days leading up to his death, Cordero suffered a brief heart stoppage, a minor heart attack, sepsis and a tracheotomy.
On stage, Codero’s large stature and charisma lent him roles like Cheech, a tap-dancing gangster in the musical adaptation of “Bullets Over Broadway” for which he would win a Tony nomination.
Zach Braff, a friend of the couple, and Cordero’s co-star in “Bullets Over Broadway” said on twitter: “I have never met a kinder human being. Don’t believe that Covid only claims the elderly and the infirm.” He added, “I am so grateful for the time we had.”
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Codero won over friends and critics alike, receiving this review from Ben Brantley in the New York Times “Mr. Cordero never pushes for effect, even when he’s leading a homicidal dance number in “Tain’t Nobody’s Biz-ness if I Do. And somehow, this dopey mass-murdering thug and the actor playing him stand out as being far more endearingly earnest than anybody else.”
Cordero, would go on to play the abusive husband in ‘Waitress” and star as the mobster mentor in “A Bronx Tale.”
In a New York Times 2014 interview, he admitted being type cast in these roles was a greater challenge for him than audiences might imagine.
“The producer kept telling me, ‘Get tough. Get mean. Get angry,’ ” he said. “But I’m a nice guy. I’m Canadian.”
Laura Day is a Reel New York correspondent. Contact her at Laura@reelchicago.com