John Anthony Boni born July 3, 1937, to the late John and Duillia Boni in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania died in Duke University Hospital, surrounded by family and friends, at 1:50 AM, Friday, March 8th, 2019, from lung cancer.
John was a man of many talents and passions that he exuberantly shared with the world across multiple mediums and platforms throughout his life. Singing and performing were among his first loves and he pursued this passion with the same dedication and ferocity that he would all his future endeavors. Without his parents’ permission, the young John auditioned as a singer on the children’s variety show The Horn and Hardart Children’s Hour and made it! After attending and graduating from St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia, the tall, dark, and handsome bass-baritone moved to New York City with Broadway on his mind. He met and married his first wife, the beautiful dancer, Rita O’Connor, and followed up his early singing success with roles in many Broadway and off-Broadway musicals, most notably starring as El Gallo in the long-running off-Broadway hit, The Fantasticks!
When a throat injury spelled a premature end to his singing career, John took this as an opportunity to explore the funnier side of life as a contributing writer for Mad Magazine and National Lampoon. Eventually, John decided to make this show on the road to Los Angeles, California where he began a successful career as a television writer and producer. In Los Angeles, he met his second and final wife, an adorable blonde who gave it as good as she got it, Donna Pode. They married and had 3 incredibly attractive children: Sasha, Gabrielle, and Mario.
John’s writing career spanned years and countries, well Canada, and included such tv shows as: Three’s Company, Fernwood 2 Night, When Things Were Rotten with Mel Brooks, Electric Company, 227, Harry and the Hendersons, General Hospital, and Lassie. He had 3 Emmy nominations under his belt and one win for The Electric Company. His middle child broke the Emmy more than 20 years ago Emmy, but until recently, the top half of the statue was hanging majestically on a tree in the backyard of his Durham home.
John retired and moved to Durham in 2003 with his wife and son. Apparently misunderstanding the word retirement, John spent the last 10 years or so performing in plays, doing standup, as the Silver Senior, and writing a blog. John was and will always be an avid New York Giants football fan, spending many a Sunday cheering and groaning with his football family, both in person and online.
John was preceded in death by his equally gregarious son, Mario Boni and his, almost as funny best friend, former Mad Magazine editor and chief Nick Meglin.
He is survived by his two younger brothers, Anthony and Felix Boni, his still adorable wife, Donna Boni, his daughters, Sasha Hoffman and Gabrielle Boni, and his even more incredibly attractive grandchildren, Eloise, and Emmett Hoffman.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, April 7th, from 12-2, at the Carrboro Arts Center: 300-G E. Main St., Carrboro, NC. 27510.
In lieu of flowers, the family would like donations, in John’s name, be made to Kidznotes PO Box 200, Durham, NC. 27702, or https://www.kidznotes.org/support-us/
John would like to be thought of often, praised continuously, and if anyone wanted to build a shrine to him, that would be all right too.