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John Leighton

December 30, 1924 ~ October 1, 2019 (age 94)


John Leighton, Stage and Screen Actor, 94


John Leighton, a journeyman actor in theatre, films and television for 75 years, died on Oct 1 at his home on Beekman Place. He was 94 years old.  

Mr. Leighton appeared on Broadway in “Arsenic and Old Lace” with Jean Stapleton and Tony Roberts and “Of The Fields Lately” with Chris Cooper. 

Off-Broadway he appeared in “Da,” “Philadelphia Here I Come,” and O’Casey’s “The Plough and the Stars” at the Irish Rep; “Romeo and Juliet” with Robert Sean Leonard at the Riverside Shakespeare Company; “Happy Days” at the Samuel Beckett Theatre; and “Enter A Free Man” at St. Clements. 

He also co-starred opposite Eva Le Galliene in the National Repertory Theatre production of “Elizabeth The Queen.”  

He appeared in over 17 regional theatres including Long Wharf, Hartford Stage, Philadelphia Drama Guild, Milwaukee Rep, Indiana Rep, among others. 

On film, he appeared in “Nobody’s Fool” opposite Paul Newman; “The Extra Man” opposite Kevin Kline; and “Happy New Year” opposite Michael Cuomo. 

On television, he appeared in “Edge of Night,” “The Doctors,” “Kraft Theatre,” “American Parade Dramas,” and “Omnibus,” among others.  

He was raised in Staten Island, NY and studied acting at the EJ Schneider Drama Studio, New York University, the Fanny Bradshaw Shakespeare Studio and the Michael Howard Studio. 

He joins his deceased wife, acclaimed stage actress Virginia Downing, and leaves behind a wealth of friends in the arts who will deeply miss his gentle spirit and good nature.


Private funeral arrangements are being handled by International Funeral Services of New York. A celebration of life for Mr. Leighton's friends will be held in the near future.  

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