February 29, 2004 by

Carl Anderson


Categories: Actors, Hollywood, Military, Musicians

canderson.jpgCarl Anderson, a Golden Globe-nominated actor and singer who was best known for his portrayal of Judas Iscariot in “Jesus Christ Superstar,” died on Feb. 23 from leukemia. He was 58.
Anderson dropped out of high school in the 11th grade and enlisted in the Air Force. He served for two years as a communications technician, completed his high school studies and moved to Washington D.C., where he formed the rock band, The Second Eagle.
Anderson broke into show business on Palm Sunday. He and the band were performing songs from “Jesus Christ Superstar” at a church service when a talent agent with the William Morris Agency offered him an audition in New York City for the role of Judas on Broadway. Ben Vereen originated the part in 1971, but Anderson took over when Vereen became too sick to perform. In 1973, Anderson was cast in the movie adaptation of the rock opera, and received Golden Globe nominations for most promising newcomer and best musical actor.
When he wasn’t on stage, Anderson appeared on several TV shows, including “Another World,” “Magnum P.I.,” “Hill Street Blues” and “Days of Our Lives.” He acted in the 1985 Steven Spielberg film, “The Color Purple,” and recorded nine albums. “Friends and Lovers,” his duet with soap star Gloria Loring, hit #2 on the Billboard charts in 1986.
Anderson reprised his most famous role in 1992 for a 20th anniversary of the movie tour. He was performing on a national tour of the musical last summer when his illness was diagnosed.

73 Responses to Carl Anderson

  1. Raymond van Lierop

    I was lucky to meet u some years ago here in holland, the Netherlands where u won a songcontest in den Haag some years ago…
    And now my friend you are gone…after they diagnosed an awful illness!!! Carl u know we won”‘t forget u, we will not stop listening to your songs
    My friend rest in peace…your music was simply just amazing to good to be true well i know what i had found the moment i saw you.
    your dutch friend Raymond van Lierop

  2. kenneth v. tynes

    Mr Anderson,
    i’ll never forget sitting in the movie theatre at 12 yrs old watching you and your castmates in jesus christ superstar over and over again. Your performance will stay with me for the rest of my life
    god bless you
    kenneth v. tynes

  3. Jackie

    This is a total loss!! I saw him in The Color Purple and really enjoyed his work. I guess God needed his talents more than we did!

  4. Rebecca

    Carl Anderson’s vocal talent exceeded any all expectations I’d ever had for musical performance. God bless you Carl for bringing the story of Jesus Christ Superstar to so many fans. You touched my soul. I feel honored I was able to see your perform live 3 times in your role of Judas. You will be missed.

  5. Anysia Chung

    Man, I am just saddened to read about this. The brief blurb in CNN didn’t click as to who it was who passed away.
    The world is a sadder place without you and your wonderful voice.

  6. vance

    carl…was just an acquiantance and i tried to catch the few musical performances he had in the last ten years…he was a singer that was in a class of his own…able to do soul and rock…the way i see it his best work was still ahead…

  7. thomas kjall

    a truly great spiritual voice has passed into god’s realm i found out today. You give me such comfort and joy through your music, especially “Pieces of a Heart” Thank you!!

  8. Frank Munoz

    I met Carl in 1993 in San Francisco at a performance of
    Superstar that still stands as the best live musical I’ve
    ever seen. I’m proud to say that I had the chance to tell
    him that he was one of my heroes as he signed all of
    my JCS memorabilia which I now cherish more than ever!
    Spent Xmas 2004 viewing the new DVD and remembering
    Carl. Rest In Peace.

  9. Kelly

    Your amazing portrayal of Judas In Jesus Christ Superstar touched me to the core of my being. I can honestly say that movie moved me to give my life to Christ and become a devoted follower. I am eternally grateful and owe you my eternal thanks. You will be missed!

  10. Peter Vollmerhaus

    I am very sad to hear about Carl, he had a such an influence on my development as a musician and the way I think about vocal performances. I as well saw his performance on TV during the late eighties, he was doing so well, blowing all other performers away during that contest in den Haag in the netherlands.
    He will always stay in my memories and my heart until I have to say goodbye…

  11. Susan Horlick

    Fond memories of Carl…. It was January, 2003 that Denise, Jan and I saw and hugged Carl in Tampa, Florida, listening again to his glorious voice opposed to a blond Sebastian Bach in The Last Supper…
    “Cut out the dramatics! You
    know very well who”
    and the answer coming from… “not Ted” and the strange, eerie d

  12. Denise Oldford

    Carl was one of the sweetest, kindest people I have ever met in my life. He helped me through some traumatic times in my life, would call me when he was in ‘my neck of the woods’, and for some reason said I was ‘family’. He will be greatly missed.
    My best,

  13. Georgie

    To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people
    and the affection of children;
    to earn the appreciation of honest critics
    and endure the betrayal of false friends;
    to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others;
    to leave the world a bit better
    whether by a healthy child, a garden patch,
    or a redeemed social condition;
    to know even one life has breathed easier because
    you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  14. cristina cristobal

    I saw the movie, “Jesus Christ Superstar” while I was still in College in the Phiippines when it first came out. Of course Carl Anderson’s talent struck me. I saw the movie more than 10 times (in Manila and here in the US). Even my mother was convinced this was one of the best ever. As a matter of fact the whole family was transfixed to this movie. In 2000, I got separated from my ex-husband. Needing a spiritual uplift my sister took me to Agape, her church. Although I am Catholic, I needed all the spiritual help I could get. I was so into my emotions, but the songs they had were lifting me up, most especially when this man came up to the stage. If this was a drug it was making me really high. I had my eyes closed, letting the tears just flow. Until my sister, elbowed me and sort of “woke” me up. She said, whispering ” that’s Carl Anderson up there. Did you know that?”. I swear, forget grieving and all the emotional hurt. After the service, I came up to him and introduced myself. I remember saying, ” I have been your greatest fan since 20 some years ago. I am so delighted to finally have met you”. He grabbed my face tenderly, said “thank you, my dear” and proceeded to kiss me on the lips which I felt was the longest kiss ever. I nearly died. For a brief moment to borrow the Beatles’ song…all my troubles seemed so far away. They were selling CDs at the premises of his gospel songs. Needless to say I got one. That kiss will never be forgotten. Carl Anderson will always be in my heart. I hope to meet you again in heaven…………love, cristina

  15. Elizabeth Campbell

    Dear Mr. Anderson,
    Today is Easter Sunday 2005, and my husband popped in the DVD “Jesus Christ Superstar”. I’ve grown up on this movie 29 years ago and never get tired of watching it. You had an amazing vocal gift and you are sorely missed.
    Elizabeth & Kevin Campbell

  16. John Powell

    I have just learned that you passed away. I heard Tim Rice say something in an interview of him that I saw under the special features section of the DVD Jesus Christ Superstar. I saw you in Columbus at he Palace theater when I was 16. That would have been 1992 and you and Ted Neely were both reprising your Original Roles from Jesus Christ Superstar. On a side note Dennis Deyoung from Styx played Pilate. You stole the show!!! You will be sorely missed.

  17. Juanita Harris

    I just moved back from the East Coast one year ago. I met up with Harley Muilenberg from Humboldt State University. He told me you had passed away. I was stunned, I didn’t want to believe it and was heartbroken. I had no idea. I remember singing with you on stage several times. I remember wanting to ride your coattails to L.A., but my “safe” side kept me up North. I was excited to see you in Boston when you were touring with the company, and it was the last time I saw you. I hope you’re cradled in his arms. I will always remember you.
    Love always,
    Juanita M. Harris

  18. LEIGH

    I met Carl in Des Moines IA while he was performing JCS. I sent a piece of silver backstage with a note, “29 to go”.He called the next day. We discussed my dream of producing a gender flip of JCS. He told me an interesting story about Andrew Lloyd Weber. We had been in touch off & on since. Every once in awhile I would send another piece of jewelry. I will miss him terribly.

  19. Makude Kekana

    Carl, I just received the news that you are no longer of these world, I am your number one fan in south africa, thanks for your great music especially pieces of a heart CD and your wonderful voice, I pray that you be in the presence of God and hope to hear your voice again when we cross over as well. I hope someone will contnue distributing your wonderful work, I guess I can not ask you for your entire CD/ Music collection which I need RIP brother

  20. Portia Lebala

    For me, Carl will always remain my number one favourite artist irrespective of him being no more. There are no words to describe his voice and music. Back in South Africa, it is so difficult to get hold of his collection. I always listen to a local radio station “Metro FM” because they play his music. His music continues to touch many hearts and may his soul rest in peace
    Portia, Johannesburg

  21. Jamieson Poirier

    Time and time again, his voice transcends the screen, and settles in the seat of my soul. I am happy to count his performance in Jesus Christ Superstar amongst my favorite screen performances of all time. The world is a better place because of him.

  22. Potso Mogotsi

    He was n still on my top 5(favourite artist).I heard him on the local radion station(metro fm),they were playin ‘Can’t stop the rain) and i feel in love with the song and the following day i made an order at some record store. And i’m still diggin for his musci…..I see that that some of the people in South Africa are also playing his music 2. We’ll mis you Carl….

  23. Sandra L. Plude

    Carl died just 11 days after my dear husband Leo. We both enjoyed Carl for years form the 70’s to thru the 90’s. There was no other Judas Jesus Christ Superstar would not have been the same without Ted and Carl. The quality and tone of his voice was breathtaking, he gave his all. I once met him in person when Superstar was on tour. He was about to board the bus and he shook our hands and said to my aunt and I that it was so good to see black people out enjoying the show. My husband will now get to meet him, he was a class act. God bless Carl and his family.

  24. Marco Martins

    i’m only 15 years and i’m portuguese. my father showed me a tape of jesus christ super star when i saw that begining i…i… only said oh my god. it is a big losshe had a voice but a voice that it will never be some voice like that. i watch jesus christ super star over and over again and each time i think how is it possible to exist a voice like that and it’s used so well . we all miss you.i’ve to go. time to watch jcs

  25. Cindi Verbelun

    I remember a lovely man with a wonderful gift. I feel very fortunate to have met him many times, and very fortunate to have seen him perform. Carl, you are greatly missed, but you will always live on in all of our memories.

  26. Stormy

    You are sadly missed Carl.
    Your talents, your kindness and your gentle spirit all touched me deeply.
    You are now with our mutual friend Steve Lail (aka Rainbow Kid), and heaven has to be an even more beautiful place because the two of you are there………
    “That Nurse”

  27. stefanie

    My mom and I saw Carl and Ted in JCS at least 5 times whenever they came to Philly. It is my all-time favorite musical and Carl was my favorite actor. I remember him on Days of our Lives when I was a little girl and loved him ever since.
    I can’t believe I just found out about his death…over 1-1/2 years later. I listen to his CD all the time on the way home from work.
    I am sitting here at my computer crying for such a wonderful man. He will forever remain in my heart. And I am sure my future children will love his voice as well. He will forever be missed and always remembered.

  28. B Traylor

    I didn’t get a chance to see you personally but enjoyed your music immensely, I’ve been a fan since the early ninetys and was deeply touched by your song ” If I could “. I didn’t learn of your passing until today, 10/30/05 while searching for some of your music, I was sincerely stunned and heartbroken, the world has truly lost a great voice and wonderful spirt, God Bless and I am sure you are bringing joy to all who have had the honor of listening.

  29. Damoor

    While sitting in “Heartbreak Hotel”, I’m at a loss, and stunned. I’ts been 21 months, I can’t really find the words that express how I really feel. After hearing Mr. Anderson sing for the first time, I have been captivated, and mesmerized by the GREATEST vocalist to ever walk the planet by far in my opinion. The word “rare” is the best way to describe what we all witnessed in Carl’s songs, movies, and his aura. There are many rare birds that once roamed the earth, or least I’ve been told, and I will always to able to tell the story of a rare bird that always had a beautiful song to sing that no other bird would dare attempt to touch. This story is not a fable, I witnessed the rarest of birds sing, and fly away. I will always be heartbroken, but you will never be forgotten, at least not while I breath. I’m under your wings.

  30. Ruth Marland

    To all of Carls loved ones & fans:
    God took you too SOON….Only the GOOD DO DIE YOUNG. Your spirit & talents live on…..forever.
    Thanks for a happier’70’s era,

  31. Alessandra

    CARL I MISS YOU !!!!!
    You will always stay in my heart.
    Your Spirit live on FOREVER!!!!
    And TED, remember….. Carl will always be close to you.
    As long as you raise one’s eyes to Heaven and… he will be there.

  32. spanish_sue

    I only want to pay tribute to you Carl, two years after you left us.
    I will always remember you, as the half part of a wonderful dream, together with Ted. You both will never know how happy have you both made to so much people on earth. Heaven bless you!

  33. Sandra

    Dear Carl,
    I`ve never met you but I know that you`ve been a wonderful person with a heart of gold! You are missed very much! You`re in a better place now and I am convinced that we will meet there, someday.

  34. Brian Rank

    This is so sad for me to hear. You have been an inspiration in my life since I was alot younger and since the movie of JCS.I was priviliged to seen you perfrom with Ted Neely in the stage production of JCS. It was the first time for Calgary Canada to have you and Ted Neely perform in JCS here. It was a very commanding performance and something I will never forget for the rest of my life. You have touched my life in a very real way and have been a huge inspiration in many ways. Rest In Peace Carl

  35. sandy

    just found this site after looking up JCS- I am a huge fan. Never got to see a live performance but the movie touched me in a way nothing else has. Right to the very soul. I still have the old VHS tape that I originally put it on. What a sad loss.
    Peace to you and know that you touched so many….

  36. Brad

    I was first hired as a rigger on the 20th anniversary tour of JCS at the tail end of a string of one night shed dates deep into it’s 3rd year on the road. An extremely talented performer named Gary was playing the roll of Judas when I first joined the tour. I’d sit in the house and watch the show every night and I’ll never forget thinking that our set was huge and that the actors all looked rather small running around on it. The first time Carl Anderson was scheduled to take over the roll, there was an electricity running through the cast and crew. People would just walk up to me and say, “It’s going to be a totally different show once Carl gets here.”
    I’ll never forget seeing Carl for the first time walking into sound check wearing a full length fur coat, cackling his unmistakable laugh and greeting all with a smile and a hug. I sat out in the house, not sure what to make of him. Bruce put his mic on him and Carl started his sound check… “My mind is clearer now, at last, all to well, I can see, where we all soon will be…. ”
    He worked his way through the opening of the song, he positioned himself casually center stage, stretched out his arms and belted, “Jesus!!!! You’ve started to believe….” The set shrank to the size of a postage stamp and I welled up with pride that I was a part of THIS show.

  37. Lee

    I saw JCS for the first time in 1973, and have since watched it more than any other movie, except maybe The Wizard of Qz, probably only because that movie was made so much earlier. I was so completely inthralled in it and still am to this day. The cast was so enormously talented, but also, I think, touched by God to have been able to portray their characters with such pure dedication. Carl Anderson’s death must truely have put a Super (Star) in the heavens.

  38. Pamela

    I just wanted to say that I had my two children watch JCS for the first time today and explained to them about Mr. Anderson. I had the pleasure of meeting him and Ted Neely when they came through Las Vegas about 10 years or so ago. They were coming out of the backstage of the old Aladdin showroom/theater where they had just performed. Both of them took about 40 minutes out of there time to talk with me and my friend Tamara. I can honestly say that out of all the celebrities I have ever met, and there have been alot, these two men were the nicest and most sincere people I have ever met. Thank you for taking the time for two young girls who have grown up on this music. Mr. Anderson, you will forever sing in heaven and you are in a much better place. I look forward to seeing you there someday. God Bless.

  39. Shawn A.

    I saw Carl and Ted in at JCS in Chicago, 1992, and after the show they were outside signing autographs in front of a crushing crowd. I was struggling to get Carl’s attention to sign my program, and he looked at me across a sea of fans, reached out as far as he could and took my program, signed it and gave it back to me. I thanked him and he then smiled and nodded, as if he knew his extra effort made the day even better for me.

  40. Betty Ann M.

    This weekend I rented the video Jesus Christ Superstar and shared it with my 11-yr old daughter. This was a first for her, but for me it was like wrapping my heart in the arms of an old friend . . . It was not until I watched the special trailers on the DVD that I became aware that you, Carl, had made your Transistion. My blessings and honor be with your spirit. Your portrayal of Judas forever changed the perspective I had of that particular biblical character. No one could have played the part as you were so obviously born to do.. .
    Fare You Well, in the Eternal.

  41. DJ

    I met Carl backstage at JCS at The Universal Ampithetre in LA.Both Carl and Ted Neely reprised their roles and both were super nice,friendly genuine people backstage,taking time to meet and talk to everyone.
    Carl to me had one of the most amazing voices I have ever heard,and his role in JCS is one of musics greatest moments as noth his voice and passion were truly amazing. Miss ya Carl..stay cool.

  42. Andre/ Chicago

    I am saddened today to find out that Carl Anderson has passed away. I was watching Jesus Christ Superstar and wanted to see what was going on with the actors as of today and read the headline. I became familiar with this play in my senior year in high school. Mr Anderson’s portrayal of Judas was intense and touching to me. It makes Judas appear just as human and frail as we all are. Mr Anderson’s performance was awesome and I’ve come to learn how talented he was. God has you even closer now Carl Anderson. We are all richer today because of your talent. God bless

  43. Denise

    I had the honor of seeing Carl twice on the national tour and he was absolutely amazing. I also had the pleasure of meeting him both times and having my pic taken with him. He was such a nice pleasant man and a wonderful talent that is well missed here. He is singing to the heavens now.

  44. eugene mallery

    Unfotunately I never met Carl in person like so many who did and in deed all of you were given a blessed opportuniy.I hope some how the rcord companies that have control of his music will wise up and rerelease those musical treasures..To Carls family,thanks to Kyle Scott Jackson & James Lancaster a.k.a(Sinbad)at radio station KTSUFM.ORG in HOUSTON TX.he will live on.
    Eugene mallery

  45. Jacque Payne

    I met both Carl Anderson and Ted Neely while was in college at the University of Kansas. They came through with the show and I was in AWE! Ted gave me a huge hug and now I tell people I’ve been hugged by Jesus. They always look at me funny! Even though I was just a “techie” helping to set up the stage and running errands for the cast & crew, both Carl and Ted were normal people … given their high talents and accreditations, it was great to meet two people that are really down to earth and still act like normal people. Carl – I’m sorry to hear you’re no longer with us, but God definitely got another angel when he got you!

  46. John O'Keefe

    You inspired me as a young boy to get into music…..to discover the voice I have and to make a living at it. I saw Jesus Christ Superstar about 300 times in my lifetime (currently 43 years old) and “Heaven On Thier Minds” still sends shivers down my spine as you wind it up at the end. I never met you – but am saddened at the news of your untimely death. Rest in Peace bro – we’ll see you soon!(but not too soon – smile)

  47. camila

    Im so sorry Carl!!! im actually crying! i can’t believe u died im watching ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ in my portugese class.Hope you enjoy heaven and meeting the REAL jesus christ and telling him you were the role of Judas
    Love you and God bless you

  48. Tracy

    JCS was the first home video that I ever saw and your performance blew me away. You were blessed with a gift.
    Peace be with you

  49. beverly

    I just saw Ted Neely performing in JCS and no one plays the part of Judas as well as you did. How I miss seeing you. I hope you now have the answer that Judas was searching for and have met Jesus

  50. Terence

    I have never seen a portrayal of a character brought to life as you did with Judas. That was timeless! You will never be forgoten. My children listen to you and love every minuet of it. Please rest in peace my friend.

  51. Sue P

    Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
    As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
    Are melted into air, into thin air:
    And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
    The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
    The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
    Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
    And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
    Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
    As dreams are made on; and our little life
    Is rounded with sleep.
    [William Shakespeare/The Tempest]
    …you are remembered this day and always!

  52. Bill McDowell

    Carl, I have’nt seen Superstar in 30 years, but after watching tonight, it was like yesterday as I remembered all the songs and especially your role. After seeing the commentary I was moved to visit your Obituary.God bless you for all the emotions you put in and gave to me. We all need reminders now and again about struggles in life. God Bless and rest you.

  53. Sibusiso Buthelezi

    I had just discovered Mr Anderson’s music when few months later I heard about his passing,You left a mark in our lives, you brought us closer to our families with you music and your majestic voice still echo’s in our ears.
    We will never shed a tear for you as God has reached out and brought you home where you will continue to shine for the whole universe.
    Thank you!! from: Sibusiso Buthelezi(South Africa)

  54. Urszula Dolven

    I admire you for your performance as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, your form of expression – voice and body language. I can’t imagine another actor in your place that could carry such passion and turmoil in his voice. You were a phenomenal actor. Thank you so much!

  55. Jake

    Dear Carl Anderson,
    You were a great singer. I watch ”American Idol” all the time. I wish you were on that show singing ”Heaven on their Minds”. That’s my favorite song you sing as the character of Judas. ”Jesus Christ Superstar” is my favorite musical. Rest In Peace, My Friend.

  56. Lydia M

    What a man! To my great regret I never saw him live – but every time I listen to him I feel a piece of heaven down here on earth. Whereas at the time of its release the show was considered blasphemous, little did we all know how times and opinions would change. Carl’s performance gave me compassion for Judas and the realization that me and most others are closer to Judas character than the good apostles than we’d like to believe. Why would we believe someone walking around saying he was the Son of God? We would have our doubts and he did too. But he had love and remorse – the same stuff we are made of ………. Carl brought this out for me rather than reading the Bible.

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