Battle Hinton as Sweet {image via Mutant Enemy Productions}

January 29, 2024 was a sad day for Broadway. Hinton Battle, famous for playing the Scarecrow in The Wiz, passwed away. He was 67. A cause of death was not revealed.

His longtime friend Debbie Allen revealed the news on Instagram on Jan 30th.

“Today I honor Hinton Battle, my dear friend who left us to dance and sing in God’s Ensemble last night,” the actress wrote on Instagram Jan. 30. “He fought this battle to live and be creative impacting audiences and young people across the globe. Let us always hold him high in our hearts and in our mind’s eye and forever speak his name.” 

Battle took on the role of the Scarecrow after graduating from the Jones Haywood School of Ballet in Washington D.C. and the School of American Ballet in New York, according to his bio from his talent agency MSA.

He went on to win three Tony Awards for his roles in Sophisticated LadiesThe Tap Dance Kid and Miss Saigon and also appeared in the musicals ChicagoDreamgirls and Dancin’.

SciFi and Fantasy Roles

In addition to winning three Tony Awards for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Battle played the Demon Sweet in the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Once More With Feeling” and was choreographer for the episode. Battle guest starred on one episode of Quantum Leap as James in “Revenge of the Evil Leaper.” He appeared in one episode of Early Edition as Rev. O.C. Nicks. On the Wonderful World of Disney, he portrayed the great Bojangles Robinson in “Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story.” He co-starred with Batman villains Frank Gorshin and Eartha Kitt in the time travel musical A Night on the Town (1983)

In the attempted American reboot of the British cult classic Red Dwarf in 1992, Battle voiced the Cat. He also appeared on Touched By an Angel as Randy “the Clown” McCloud.

Award-Winning Dancer/Singer/Actor

Hinton Battle won three Tonys, for Sophisticated Ladies in 1981, for The Tap Dance Kid in 1984, and for Miss Saigon in 1991. Other notable Broadway roles include the Scarecrow in the original cast of The Wiz, For Evil Dead: The Musical he was both co-director and choreagrapher. He won the Lucille Lortel Award, Outstanding Choreographer in 2007 for Evil Dead: The Musical. He also performed in Chicago, Ragtime, and Dreamgirls. He won an Ira Aldridge Award for his performance in Chicago.

Battle studied at the School of American Ballet under the famous George Balanchine. He was founder and director of the Hinton Battle Dance Academy He was born November 29, 1956 in Neubraecke, West Germany. He died January 29, 2024 in Los Angeles, California, after a long illness. He was featured on several cast albums, but released only one solo album, Untapped, in 1986.


Although Hinton Battle was best known on stage, he did appear in almost a dozen films, and often acted as choreographer for many of those films.

  • Wayne in Dreamgirls (2006)
  • Pete in These Old Broads (2001)
  • Sonny Boy Williamson in Foreign Student (1994)
  • Hildred Shumake in The Switch (1993)
  • The Cat in Red Dwarf (1992)
  • Odie in The Boys (1992)
  • Hawk in Wedding Band (1989)
  • Piano Player in Daddy’s Boys (1988)
  • Travis’ servant in The Alamo: Thirteen Days to Glory (1987)
  • A Night on the Town (1983)
  • Sophisticated Ladies (1982)

Our condolences to his friends, family, and legion of fans.


Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress ”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.