Born: February 23, 1953
Died: April 4, 2019
Anthony J. "Tony" Papaleo, Jr. studied for two years at Illinois Wesleyan University before leaving school to start working and studying improv at Chicago’s famed Second City cabaret theater. Papaleo graduated from the Players Workshop and soon formed a comedy troupe, called the St. Vitus Dancers, with colleagues Jim Fay and Jeff Michalski. The group performed at clubs such as the Comedy Womb and the Comedy Cottage, with bits like their takeoff on the opera “Carmen,” retitled “Carmen Kowalski.” Papaleo also performed as an actor in such shows as The Rimers of Eldritch at the Barry Street Loft Theater, for which he received a Jeff recommendation (the equivalent of today’s Jeff award). In 1977, some members of the St. Vitus Dancers merged with some members of two other comedy groups to form the five-person Original Comedy Rangers improvisational troupe, and by 1979 they had become regular performers at the Wells Street comedy club Zanies, as well as at the now-shuttered Sylvester’s on Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Park. The group also performed on the West Coast, at legendary venues such as the Comedy Store in Los Angeles and the Ice House in Pasadena. The Original Comedy Rangers also created a cable TV show, which featured a variety of recorded parodies and other comedy bits — some of which can be found on YouTube. Tony had a career in business, and in the past few years returned to acting and teaching improv. He is survived by his daughters Angela Collier and Lily Papaleo, and greatly missed by his friends.