An actor who was a longtime fixture in the Los Angeles musical theater scene is the focus of a memorial Monday in Long Beach. Bisom took his own life on March 16. He was 47.
John Bisom had recently appeared in the national tour of “Mamma Mia," but Southland audiences may know him best as the title character in “The Will Rogers Follies.”
Actor and director Larry Raben first worked with Bisom six years ago. He said he’ll remember him for his big heart, on and off the set.
“Johnny was one of those people that did not have a lot of ambition," said Raben. "He wanted to be the best working actor that he could be and that’s what made him happy."
He added that he suspected "in another era, Johnny would have been a huge Hollywood star."
"But he was really, really in love with and concerned with the work and making a connection every time with the audience.”
Steve Glaudini directed and produced shows that Bisom acted in and calls him a longtime friend. He said he likes to think of Bisom as “the real deal” for his honesty as a performer.
“His charm, his quiet grace that he had. He was always such a fine, fine human being and actor and you couldn’t help realize that when you’d see him at a show," Glaudini said. "He went so deep, he could do the most dramatic roles and turn around and do ‘Bye Bye Birdie.’”
His memorial will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday in his hometown of Long Beach at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center.