Obituary of John Basil Giletto

May 27, 2024

John Basil Giletto, age 73, of New York City passed away on May 27, 2024 in New York City.

There will be no viewing at this time. A memorial service will be held in September in NYC. Details are still being arranged. John has asked to be cremated. 

John Basil Giletto was born in Philadelphia, PA to Basil and Ruth Kiefman Giletto on September 27, 1950.  He went to school at Lower Merion High School, earning an MFA from Temple University.  He married Liz Giletto on September 4, 1988 in NYC. John has worked in the theatre his entire life as an actor, regional theatre director, teacher and author. His most recent job was as an assistant professor of theatre at Marymount Manhattan College. For 25 years he was the Artistic Director of American Globe Theatre on West 46 Street. He has been recognized by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and has been awarded the Iben Lectureship for Shakespeare. John Basil is an accomplished author of three books: Will Power: How to Act Shakespeare in 21 Days, published in 2006 and in 2022, Building a Performance: An Actor’s Guide to Rehearsal. His third book Identity, Breathing Life into the Words, will be released posthumously.

John is preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his spouse, Liz, sister, Rosemary Leavy, brothers Joseph and Basil Paul Giletto 

Charitable donations can be made to Feed the Children or World Wildlife Fund.


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John was my first acting teacher when I moved to NYC IN 1987. He was my friend, Collaborator, mischief maker, teacher, director and truth teller. I will miss his honesty and his guidance and his joy.

Posted by: Alyson Friedman - New York, NY - Friend May 29, 2024

I worked with John very early in my career both in NY and at LIU/CW Post. A kinder, more talented gentleman you would never meet. Rest in peace John.

Posted by: Bill Motyka - Longboat Key, FL - Friend May 30, 2024

John was a caring, enthusiastic, and fun teacher. So many actors take the craft so seriously, as he did, but he had such a sense of humor about the work as well. His classroom was one you wanted to be in, homework you couldn’t wait to complete, access to language and how to understand it, a Time Machine. So many of us fell deeper in love with classical theatre because of him, and I will hold what he taught close forever.

Posted by: Caroline McQuaig - North Bergen, NJ - Student May 30, 2024

John was an old friend of mine all thru our youth We shared so many fun times in high school I almost convinced him to attend our last high school reunion and I think he was going to come to our next one in 2035. RIP dear John. When I think of you I will always smile. Always so kind and caring. I will always think of you fondly.

Posted by: Susie Pesin goodman - Philadelphia, PA - Friend June 9, 2024

John Basil Joseph Giletto. To the many terrific memories that go beyond words. You are my friend forever.

Posted by: E.Robert Blank - Penn Valley, Pa. - Friend June 13, 2024