Carl Anderson (February 27, 1945 - February 23, 2004) was a singer and actor best known for portrayal of Judas Iscariot in the rock opera by Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Jesus Christ Superstar. While the media first focused on the casting of an African American in the role of Judas, Anderson stole the show with his brooding portrayal of the deceptive Apostle.
Born in 1945 in Lynchburg, Va., Anderson was one of 12 children of James and Alberta Anderson. During his junior year of high school, Carl enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he served as a communications technician for two years. He returned to Lynchburg to complete high school and graduate in 1965. With his honorable discharge, following high school, Carl sang at military bases across America as part of the World Wide Air Force Talent Contest.
Anderson moved to Washington D.C. in 1969. Carl and some friends formed a group called The Second Eagle, with Carl handling the vocals. Among the many jazz/rock tunes Second Eagle covered were some from the album Jesus Christ Superstar, which had been released long before there were ever any definitive plans for a stage production.
In 1971, a talent agent for The William Morris Agency saw Carl perform some JCS songs at St. Stephen's Church and recognized Carl's potential as a solo performer.
Early Career History
Although Carl didn't know it at the time, one of his most significant opportunities came when he took over the role of Judas in Christ Superstar from Ben Vereen in 1971 and performed it on Broadway and in Los Angeles. While performing in Los Angeles, Carl was flown to London for a screen test. Two weeks later, he left that production to begin filming in Israel. The film, released in 1973 by director Norman Jewison, catapulted Anderson's career with two Golden Globe nominations as most promising newcomer and best musical actor.
Other movie appearances by Anderson include: The Black Pearl (1978) and Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple (1985). Television appearances include: Cop Rock, Days of Our Lives and Hill Street Blues.
As a recording artist, Anderson was equally prolific. Carl signed with Motown Records in 1972. Several of the most recognizable albums to be released in the musically-explosive 70s would bear the mark of Carl Anderson, including his work with Stevie Wonder on his landmark 1976 double album "Songs in the Key of Life").
Carl also made numerous appearances at several notable clubs in Los Angeles during the 1970's and, with Columbia Records' talent scout Larkin Arnold, signed a record deal for which Carl would release four albums on the Epic label beginning in 1983. In total, Anderson released nine jazz and soul albums as a solo artist, including hits "How Deep Does It Go," "Pieces Of A Heart," "Hot Coffee," and the mega-hit from his self-titled 1986 album, "Friends and Lovers," (a duet with Gloria Loring) which reached the number-two spot on the charts that year and endeared Carl to soap opera fans. Carl also appeared on albums with other leading artists, including Maynard Ferguson, Herbie Hancock, Edgar Winter, Kenny Loggins, Brenda Russell, Russ Freeman and the Rippingtons, and Nancy Wilson.
Later Career History
In 1992, Carl reprised his role as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar for a "20th Anniversary of the Movie Tour. Initially planned for three months, the production lasted 28 months and grossed over $100 million, visiting over 50 North American cities, including the Paramount Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, the Fox Theaters in Detroit, St. Louis and Atlanta, The Orpheum in San Francisco, the Wang Center in Boston as well as dates in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Miami, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.
In 1997, Anderson performed on Broadway, in an adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" called "Play On!" featuring the music of Duke Ellington, playing The Duke. Beginning in 1998, and in later years of his life, Carl reprised his role as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar to sold-out auditoriums around the world.
Carl Anderson died February 23, 2004 of leukemia at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was survived by his wife, Veronica; a son from a previous marriage, Khalil McGhee-Anderson; stepdaughters Hannah and Laila Ali; and several sisters.
Carl Anderson: Solo Artist
- Absence Without Love - 1982 - Epic
- On and On - 1983 - Epic
- Protocol - 1985- Epic
- Carl Anderson - 1986 - Epic
- Act of Love - 1988 - Polydor
- Pieces of a Heart - 1991 - GRP
- Fantasy Hotel - 1992 - GRP
- Heavy Weather/Sunlight Again - 1994 - GRP
- Why We Are Here! - 1997 - Abu Khalil
Carl Anderson Also Appeared On:
- Jesus Christ Superstar - Orig. Motion Picture Soundtrack - 1973
- Stevie Wonder - Songs in the Key of Life - 1976
- Menage a Trois - Manage a Trois - 1980
- Weather Report - Domino Theory - 1983
- Weather Report - Sportin' Life - 1984
- Kenny Loggins - Vox Humana - 1985
- Joe Zawinul - Dialects - 1986
- Nancy Wilson - Forbidden Lover - 1987
- Rippingtons - Best of the Rippingtons - 1987
- Maynard Ferguson - High Voltage - 1988
- Kazu Matsui - Time No Longer - 1988
- Dan Siegel - Late One Night - 1989
- Keiko Matsui - Drop of Water - 1989
- Rippingtons - Tourist in Paradise - 1989
- The Zawinul Syndicate - Black Water - 1989
- GRP Artists - GRP: On the Cutting Edge - 1989
- Nancy Wilson - Lady with a Song - 1990
- Rippingtons - Welcome to the St. James' Club - 1990
- Peabo Bryson - Can You Stop the Rain - 1991
- Garfield (GRP Artists) - Am I Cool or What! - 1991
- Richard Elliot - On the Town - 1991
- Don Grusin - Zephyr - 1991
- George Howard - Do I Ever Cross Your Mind? - 1992
- GRP Artists - GRP 10th Anniversary Collection - 1992
- Rippingtons - Live in L.A. - 1992
- Eric Marienthal - One Touch - 1993
- Jazz Live - Jazz Live - 1994
- Kevin Toney - Pastel Mood - 1995
- Michael Paulo - My Heart and Soul - 1996
- Tim Rice - Collection: Stage & Screen Classics - 1996
- Play On! - Original Cast Recording - 1997
- Tis the Season - Tis the Season - 1997
- Nils - Blue Planet - 1998
- George DeLaRue - The London Sessions - 1998
- Jesus Christ Superstar - 25th Anniversary Re-Issue - 1998
- Michael Paulo - Midnight Passion - 1999
- Gerald McCauley - McCauley Sessions - 1999
- L.A. Jazz Syndicate - L.A. Jazz Syndicate, Vol. 2 - 1999
- Oceans - Ridin' the Tide - 1999