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John Anthony Boni

Posted By Hall-Wynne On March 11, 2019 @ 12:42 pm In Durham,News,Obituaries | 11 Comments

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.


Condolences for the family of “John Anthony Boni”

Condolence from Annie Taft on March 12th, 2019 2:27 pm

I want to give the whole Boni family my deepest condolences. John was a wonderful person who shared his warmth and humor with everyone. We met through the Playwright’s Roundtable and did many shows together over the years. I always appreciated his kindness and will miss him very much. I know he was beloved by many and that his family was everything to him. I am thankful that I was able to call him my friend.

Condolence from Anne Curti on March 16th, 2019 8:36 pm

Dear Donna and family,
This is Joe Curti’s Wife writing. I am so terribly sorry to hear of your John’s passing. He and Joe were great buddies even though they never could agree on who the greatest tenor actually was. I will be looking for word of funeral arrangements. My heartfelt condolences to you all.
Anne Curt

Condolence from Debra Kaufman on March 12th, 2019 5:20 pm

I am so sorry to learn of John’s passing. What a smart and funny man he was–I always looked forward to seeing him at the Playwrights Roundtable and various shows as an actor. My deep condolences to his family and friends.

Condolence from Ken Wolpert on March 13th, 2019 9:40 am

To The Boni Family- It was a delight to see John’s face as winner of the PlaySlam at the ArtsCenter a few months ago, to give him a hug, and congratulate him on how much the audience loved seeing his work presented. John was a great wit, an enthusiastic debater, and a talented writer, but I think he especially relished the role of doting grandfather. I hope Donna, their children, and all of his family continue to find joy in memories of John, as will his countless friends. He will be missed, and well-remembered.

Condolence from Mark Cornell on March 21st, 2019 8:15 am

John was a good man, good friend, and a genuine person. We did many theater things together, talked family, and shared the love our sports teams – he with the Giants and myself the Patriots. He was funny, of course, and I’ll miss him. I already miss him.

Condolence from Anthony Bruno on April 5th, 2019 3:39 pm

To the family,
This morning I learned one of breakfast colleagues, John Boni passed away
a month ago, on March 8th. It was shocking.

When 20-25 good friends get together each week we take it for
granted most will show up. John usually joined us every 3rd week
or so, so it was not unusual for him not to attend each week.

We have gotten to know John as a very talented man in a career
that most of us remain patrons, entertainment. One regret is that
I never had the opportunity to attend a program to see John
entertain as he had during his career.

I know we will miss John, he offered his opinions on issues we
all care about, usually ending with a comical spin,

God Bless John and the his family, he will surely be missed.

Condolence from Jack on April 5th, 2019 5:15 pm

Knowing John and watching him perform in places and as a standup comedian brought much enjoyment into my life. Sitting next to him at our VRWC breakfast on Friday mornings to discuss New York Giants football and and numerous actors and singers that we loved from the past was always a pleasure. I always appreciated his attendance at my singing performances with Heart of Carolina A Cappella along with his lovely wife Donna.
Jack McCallus

Condolence from Beth Newton on April 7th, 2019 11:39 am

Dear Donna and Family:

Although I didn’t personally know John, I know he was an incredibly creative and vibrant person based on Donna’s illuminating stories of his talents and character. Please except my thoughts and prayers for Donna and the Boni family as you remember him.

Condolence from Robert Schwartz on April 11th, 2019 6:42 am

Shared a stage with John in Chapel Hill, he was the star and I was the open mike guy. He was so kind as to come up afterwards, tell me I was not half as bad as I no doubt thought I was seeing how nervous I was, and give me some nice pointers. Funny guy, and even nicer and kinder than he was funny. A Jew like me would call him a mensch. A real stand up guy. He will be sorely missed. By me and many others. By the way, he called himself a Silver Senior, but he was not that much more silver and not much more senior than me. If “Three’s Company” I am sure G-d and an angel are up there with him laughing their butts off. As he (or the angel, G-d forbid) is running down the streets of heaven, ringing doorbells.

Condolence from Gary Boni on April 29th, 2019 2:18 pm

I am so sorry to hear about John’s passing. He will be missed. Always very nice to spend with him.

Condolence from Justine Boni Baker on May 2nd, 2019 9:39 pm

I recently heard about my cousin John’s passing. I am saddened by his death. We, in the Boni family, were fortunate to have him for our relative and always proud of his accomplishments. He will be missed.

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