NEW YORK (WJZ) — After nearly 50 years in the entertainment industry, Baltimore native André De Shields took home his first Tony Award Sunday night at the age of 73.

The actor, director and choreographer was awarded the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Mister Hermes in “Hadestown.”

He gave Baltimore a shout out in his acceptance speech.

“Baltimore, Maryland are you in the house?” He said. “I hope you are watching at home because I am making good on my promise that I would come to New York and become someone you’d be proud to call your native son,”

De Shields is a graduate of Baltimore City College, a proud member of the class of 1964 and a member of the City College Hall of Fame, his career has spanned 50 years.

“The top of one mountain is the bottom of the next so keep climbing,” De Shields said.

De Shields climbed out of poverty in West Baltimore, the ninth of 11 children. As a child he went to the Royal Theater, then a movie house on Pennsylvania Avenue every Saturday.

He originated the title role of “The Wiz” on Broadway. He told CBS’ Anthony Mason he’s living out the dream of his late parents.

“At 73, 50 years in the industry, the karma debt paid in full to my parents, I’m about to begin my life,”

De Shields also tweeted shortly after winning the award, “I have paid my karma debt to my mother and father.”

From Baltimore to Broadway, De Shields is now on top of the theatre world.

“Hadestown” won several other Tony Awards Sunday, including for best musical, best sound design in a musical and best director for Rachel Chavkin.


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