Larry Payton died just before 10:00 p.m. last night at a Tulsa hospital from complications stemming from pneumonia.
His son Drew made the announcement on his Facebook page shortly after and the comments began flooding in.
Celebrity Attractions released the following statetment today.
Broadway has one less light burning today as Celebrity Attractions’ President Larry Payton unexpectedly passed away Monday, February 18th at approximately 9:50 p.m. at St. Francis Hospital due to an illness.
Larry Payton, his wife Kay Payton, his son Drew Payton and his brother Ed Payton have kept the lights of Broadway burning bright out west as the leadership of Celebrity Attractions. Larry and Kay started Celebrity Attractions in 1983 and are now celebrating 30 years of bringing the best of Broadway and more to you! The company has been presenting major theatrical, musical and family entertainment and handling the marketing and group sales for national touring events. Celebrity Attractions presents a Broadway Series in seven different regional markets- including Tulsa, OK; Oklahoma City, OK; Little Rock, AR; Springfield, MO; Amarillo, TX; Abilene, TX; and Lubbock, TX. He was actively involved in the Independent Presenters Network comprised of over 50 markets throughout the United States that present and produce shows.
In addition, Larry invested in several shows for Broadway and the road, including: ONCE, KINKY BOOTS, Matthew Bourne’s SLEEPING BEAUTY, JEKYLL & HYDE, WONDERLAND, 9 TO 5, GREASE, Monty Python’s SPAMALOT on Broadway, the road & in London, PETER PAN starring Cathy Rigby, LEGALLY BLONDE, THE COLOR PURPLE, MOVIN’ OUT, BOMBAY DREAMS and THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE for which he won a Tony® Award.
Over the years, Larry’s dedication to presenting quality family entertainment and growing a business from the ground up were acknowledged by both The Broadway League as the recipient of the 2006 Outstanding Achievement in Presenter Management Award and by the Metropolitan Tulsa Chamber of Commerce as the recipient of the 1997 Small Business Person of the Year Award.
Larry was an active member of Parkview Baptist Church in Tulsa where he was a deacon and served on the church council. He also served on the Lifeway Board of Trustees and was secretary for the Retail Committee and served on the Financial Review Committee. Lifeway is the largest Christian Retailer in the United States. He was actively involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes since college and served on the Board of Directors for the State of Oklahoma. FCA is one of the few Christian Organizations which is still active in public schools. Larry served on the Board of Southwest Baptist University for which he was also an alumnus. A supporter of education, he was a former employee of the University of Tulsa as the student activities director.
Larry Payton began Celebrity Attractions in 1983 and has been a huge part of Tulsa since that time. Not only has the business been vital to Tulsa’s cultural growth but Larry himself was ingrained in the lives of thousands of Tulsans in many ways.
Larry leaves a wife Kay, daughter Laura, son Drew and daughter in law Charity.
Here are a few of the comments that came in via Facebook.
Angela What a loss for all of Tulsa. My prayers go out to his family and friends.
Debra So sad and truly a loss for our city.
Sandy I am so sorry to hear this. Prayers for Kay and all of their family. What a true gentleman!
Jason Definitely shocking. Praying for his family.
Rich Very sad to hear this. Larry was a wonderful guy
Dixie Tulsa has lost a great ambassador. Prayers of peace and comfort to his loved ones.
Steve What a great humble man and Godly example Larry was. He will be missed!
Susan I am so very sorry for the news. Prayers for him, his family and his friends Clyde His was a life of sharing music, laughter, entertainment and his faith with many communities. It was a joy to watch Celebrity Attractions' success and work with Larry. God bless his family, friends and employees. Dave Larry and the Payton family have been great ambassadors for Tulsa. We lost a great man! Prayers and condolences to his family and friends.
KRMG will continue gathering information and update this story as often as possible.