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John Leonard Colenback

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John Leonard Colenback Obituary
October 8, 1935 - May 12, 2015 JOHN LEONARD COLENBACK, 79, died on May 12, 2015 in West Hollywood, California with his great sense of humor intact. John was an accomplished actor, a talented calligrapher and watercolorist and a wonderful gourmet chef, with a gift for comedic political discourse, an encyclopedic knowledge of film, and a passion for creating his own greeting cards. All the world was indeed his stage: he acted on Broadway and Off-Broadway, on still-live daytime television in New York, and in television and film in Hollywood. He was born in Toledo, Ohio, the youngest son of the late Lloyd J. Colenback, Sr., vice president in charge of sales for the Toledo Scale Company, and the late Ruth Margaret Gelow Colenback, a suffragette. He discovered his love for the stage at Ottawa Hills High School (Class of 1953), where he appeared in 17 theater productions. At Dartmouth College (Class of 1957), he continued to study drama, majored in English, joined Phi Delta Theta and was voted "best actor" his senior year. When acting in summer stock theater at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania, he was discovered by an agent who enticed him to come to New York. John made his Broadway debut in 1961 as the Attendant to Signor Chapuys in the original Broadway production of "A Man for All Seasons." He had a feature role as Alan Armitage in the original Broadway production of "After the Rain" (1967) and also appeared in the Off-Broadway productions of Twelfth Night (Sebastian, 1963), A Scent of Flowers (Sid, 1969) and Four Friends (Ben, 1975). He starred in regional productions of "The Importance of Being Earnest," "The Halloween Bandit," "Rosencranz and Guildenstern Are Dead," "As You Like It," and "The Chinese Well" and toured nationally in "The Irregular Verb to Love." He became a fixture on daytime television as the debonair Dr. Dan Stewart on "As the World Turns" (1966-73 and 1976-79). In 1973, a national daytime magazine named him "best actor." He also starred in the television series From These Roots (Jimmy Hull, 1960-61), Hart to Hart: Murder is a Man's Best Friend (Ken Davern, 1978), The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo (Prosecutor, 1981), Capitol (Detective Keyes, 1983-84), Berrenger's (Jerry, 1985), and Falcon Crest (Frank Bellman, 1986). He played Andrew Woodward in the television movie "An Innocent Love" (1982) and appeared in the television special "Strangers in the Homeland" (1976) and on "The Michael Douglas Show" (1978). He also served as a newscaster, spokesman and actor for the RCA Color Central Exposition at the 1964 New York World's Fair. During his years in New York, John spent frequent weekends and holidays at his rustic retreat on his beloved Green Hill Pond in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. In 1980, he moved to Hollywood where he acted, worked as a chef in movie premiere catering for Along Came Mary and lost too many friends to AIDS. He was a lifelong supporter of progressive candidates and causes, especially The Names Project and LGBT programs. He is survived by his brother Lloyd J. Colenback, Jr. of Saline, Michigan, a former real estate developer in downtown Toledo, Ohio; nieces and nephews Judith Colenback Savage and her husband Jonathan of Providence, Rhode Island, Timothy Lloyd Colenback and his wife Kim of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Girard Mosby Colenback of Providence, Rhode Island, Richard Breed III and his wife Jacqueline of Cocoa Beach, Florida, Amalia H. Breed of Somerset, Massachusetts, John W. Colenback and his wife Danielle of Easthampton, Massachusetts and Jared S. Colenback and his wife Margaret of Easthampton, Massachusetts; many grandnephews and grandnieces; and dear friends Bill Starbuck and Francis Spratley, both of Los Angeles, California. He was preceded in death by his brother, The Reverend Don Fredric Colenback of Cambridge, Massachusetts, an Episcopal theologian and ethicist; sisters-in law Virginia Harvey Colenback of Greenville, Rhode Island and The Reverend Patricia Riley Colenback of Fall River, Massachusetts; and friend Robert Bent. John had a keen interest in astrology; it is thus fitting that his date of death this year signifies safe passage. Uncle Johnnie was larger than life and will be missed greatly by his family and friends.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from June 14 to June 15, 2015
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