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John McComb, 71

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John McComb, a Forest Hills Gardens resident, died Sept. 10 at the age of 71 of complications from a stroke.

McComb enjoyed early success as an actor in film, television, on Broadway and in touring companies. He studied at the renowned Herbert Bergoff Studio and with Tony Mannino.

Among the films in which he played minor roles were the Oscar-winning "On the Waterfront" with Marlon Brando, "Barefoot In The Park," with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, "Fail Safe" with Henry Fonda and Walter Matthau and "Going in Style" with Art Carney and George Burns. On Broadway he appeared in "Tea and Sympathy" with Deborah Kerr, and on television he played multiple roles in the award-winning series "Naked City." For over a year, he worked in the Spanish film industry voice-dubbing Spaghetti westerns.

Between roles, McComb worked as a maitre d' in well-known restaurants and as a bartender in Manhattan's theater district. He eventually found a niche in the production of television and radio commercials and as a disc jockey in Buffalo. There were also stints in Florida dinner theatres, and road shows with a number of productions. Back in New York in the 1980s, he began producing games for the metro area's professional baseball, basketball and hockey teams.

McComb also served for a number of years in the U.S. Navy Reserves as a communications technician in the Naval Security Group at its Whitestone and Los Angeles detachments.

In his youth, McComb was an accomplished athlete at Astoria's Bryant High School. He played on its basketball team, which won the Queens PSAL Championship. The team featured Wally Di Masi, who shared scoring honors with Lenny Wilkens at Providence College; Richie Bennett, who had a tryout with the Knicks; and Jimmy Capers, who would become the first black referee in the NBA. McComb also pitched in relief on Bryant's baseball team.

McComb developed an interest in the theatre at Bryant and was active in its drama club. A few months after graduating from Bryant in 1953, he was about to start a new job at Equitable Life Assurance when a neighbor, a dock worker, asked him if he was interested in appearing in a movie. The neighbor, who was serving as a technical advisor on the filming of "On the Waterfront," informed McComb that the production company was seeking to cast a few teenagers as members of a small gang in the story's locale in Hoboken, N.J. He auditioned for the part that day and was accepted. A week later, he found himself at meetings with Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb and Rod Steiger. The acting bug was planted and stayed with him all his life.

Mr. McComb is survived by his companion, Kerry Trudden, and two daughters, Hillary Knepper and Meredith Carsela.

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Reader Feedback

jack r. english from west hollywood, calif. says:
johnny was the greatest guy, and a good pal ...& he got me a bartending job, at "jimmy ray's", irish bar, in the theater district....47th & 8th ave...in 1963....nyc....a good actor, & a really good irish pal.....rip............jack r. english...actor...west hollywood, calif.
April 8, 2014, 1:37 am
rowan fairs nee parker from newcastle upon tyne england says:
only just found out that john passed,i knew him in the early sixties when he hung out with jack kehoe and friends.we used to party with lilian martin and hung out at jimmy rays bar,we had some great times and some amazing memories.i left manhatten in 1965 to settle in Newcastle with my husband joe. I visit lilian in queens and we often reminisce about the mad mad 60 s
Jan. 19, 3:42 pm

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