The Second City has posted on its Facebook page the passing of alum Tino Insana. He was 69. The actor passed away Wednesday night in California, according to the post.
According to the post:
“Tino was “discovered” by producer Joyce Sloane when he and his friends Steve Beshekas and John Belushi were doing shows under the name of the “West Compass Players” [formed at the College of DuPage]. Apparently, the trio was performing entire scenes that they had seen at Second City as part of their act. Instead of sending a cease and desist, Joyce and Bernie Sahlins hired John and Tino to be part of The Second City ensemble.”
Belushi went straight to the SC resident company, while Insana started in the touring company; he would move to the mainstage in 1973.
In the book, “Belushi,” by Judith Belushi Pisano and Tanner Colby, Insana said of the West Compass Players: “Most of the sketches we did that first night were about cops beating up hippies. Pretty much everything we did was about cops beating up hippies, or communism. … Being a political, satirical comedy group, we were very much a part of the counterculture. John was a true Chicagoan. He loved to satirize Mayor Daley, and he was really into Mike Royko and the big machine politics.”
After Belushi left Chicago to work in New York, Insana moved up to the Second City mainstage, on a team that included Bill Murray, Betty Thomas and John Candy. Insana was notorious for charging off stage. He described his first performance with Candy in Donna McCrohan’s book “The Second City”: “You get on and off quickly. In an improvisation, or when there’s not enough laughs for the blackouts, you get out fast. God forbid someone should get in your path. And I slammed into John, and knocked him cold. We’d always bump into each other in the dark, until we got our routes down.”
In a Hollywood Reporter interview last year, John Candy’s children noted Insana took them under their wing after their father’s untimely death.
“Tino Insana, who has done a lot of voiceover work — he was Uncle Ted in ‘Bobby’s World’ — was one of my dad’s best friends, and he’s always been there for Chris and me,” daughter Jen Candy said. “He has always given me sound advice.”
Son Chris Candy added, “He was there and took us to movies and even came to my tee-ball games.”
Insana’s film credits include “Neighbors,” “Three Amigos,” “Who’s Harry Crumb?,” “Beverly Hills Cop III” and voiceover work in 2006’s “Barnyard.”
Contributing: Darel Jevens