The resident of Cockeysville, Md., was diagnosed with an esophageal tumor Friday and died Saturday, the New York Times reported Monday.
Hambleton and Norris Houghton founded the Phoenix in New York's East Village in 1953. Their first production was Sidney Howard's "Madam, Will You Walk" starring a young Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn.
Among the luminaries who appeared on the Phoenix stage were Tyrone Guthrie, Uta Hagen, Jerome Robbins, Marcel Marceau, Helen Hayes, Rosemary Harris and John Houseman, the Times said. Montgomery Clift made his final stage appearance in a Phoenix production while Meryl Streep made one of her first, the newspaper said.
Hambleton was honored with a Tony Award for lifetime achievement in 2000.
His first wife died in 1947 and two years later he married Merrell Hopkins, who survives him. He is also survived by three daughters, two sons, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.