Obituary of James Lonigro

May 27, 2020

"James Lonigro was a talented and fearless actor and a gifted producer. Everybody I know (including myself) who worked at the priscilla beach theatre in the summer left there smarter and better and determined to live a life in the theatre. He and Roseanne Weeks were formidable and inspiring leaders. He was a true man of theatre."
-Andre Bishop
James Lonigro aka Geronimo Sands was born December 23rd of 1940 in Chicago IL to William and Genevieve Lonigro. He had 2 siblings, Anne Joelle and Billy Lonigro. He is the sole survivor of his family. At the age of 5 he was thrust into show business .... and went on to become a child radio star in WFJL on Lives of the Saints. He was an integral member of the Jack and Jill players, which led him to act, direct, and run his own theatre by the age of 16. He then went on to becoming an award-winning graduate at the American Academy of dramatic arts. His heartfelt passion to help mankind took him on a short detour to the monastery but he still couldn't stay away from the theatre so his feet found their way back to Broadway. He would imagine himself on stage while he stared at the billboards all up and down Broadway.
In the 70's an opportunity to run a summer stock theatre and children's playhouse arose. He would one day become the owner of the theatre. Here he flourished and met some of the people that would stay in his life forever. He changed the lives of countless young men and women who still remember him as a shining bright influence on their successful lives. *he touched the lives of many young artists from omaha to PBT*
"I will always be grateful to James Longiro who gave me my 1st professional acting opportunity.
He was a generous nurturer of talent. So sorry to learn of passing."
-Rob Reiner
The love of Geronimo's life was Leon Mehalic who he was married to by his dear cousin Aleta in Leons last days in the hospital. He stayed with Leon until the day he left our planet and spoke about him until the day that he himself departed. His love for this man was palpable. It permeated time, it permeated place, and most importantly it will permeate their passings. Geronimo is succeeded by his cousins Maria, Curtis, and Aleta Sliwa. Geronimo and Aleta were kindred spirits spending many nights at the theatre together and out having dinners. Geronimo launched Aeta's career at 8 which led her to have the lead in the Amsterdam production of hair and created a close creative affiliation throughout the years. He was passionate about his cousin Curtis's Guardian Angels and often spoke about Maria's humanitarian efforts. The Sliwa family sorely misses their dear cousin and will continue to hold his light in every step they take through the rest of their lives. The bond they shared was not to be rivaled and will live on throughout eternity. He is who catapulted Aleta into stardom as he has done to everyone else that he interacted with.
There was no more accepting a man, no more loving a man and no more selfless a man than Mr. Geronimo Sands. He was the light for so many of us and will continue to be. The children, who are now adults, whose lives have been shaped and forever changed by this angel will continue to bask in the glow of his ever-burning sun. He was everything to us and continues to be. Geronimo means to leap from a great height, fearlessly, and that is what he did in every endeavor no matter his age. This is how those that loved him should understand how to go about every action they take in this world. Jump for it, be fearless, and love unconditionally. This was his way and so it is ours to continue. Fly to your next adventure you radiant wonder. We love you.

Funeral Services


June 1, 2020

10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Greenwich Village Funeral Home

199 Bleecker Street

New York, NY 10012

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