John Farrell: Tiger of San Pedro’s Theater Reviews Dies at 63

  • 05/15/2015
  • Reporters Desk

Photo Courtesy of Steve Moyer

The Random Lengths News family is mourning the death of the paper’s longtime theater reviewer, John Farrell. Farrell died May 7 at the age of 63.

The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office had yet to determine Farrell’s cause of death as of press time. However, he was known to suffer from diabetes.

Known for his eclectic style, which included wearing a top hat, Farrell loved theater in all its incarnations.

“He was bigger than life—big in size and big in personality,” said his younger brother, Edward.

Farrell, would commute to San Pedro and Long Beach to do what he loved the most: attend the theater.

Charlotte Irons, a longtime friend with whom he lived, found him at his computer in her Sherman Oaks home at about 4 p.m.

“He died at his computer and that’s how it should be,” said Irons about Farrell’s dedication to his craft.

Irons, who met Farrell as a student at Cal State Long Beach in the early ‘70s, said Farrell and she shared a love for theater and world cultures. She remembers how he seemed to carry “100 cameras around his neck” as a photographer for the Daily 49er, the school’s campus newspaper.

“We had so much in common,” she said. “It was he who brought me back to opera. He brought me back to a lot of the things I developed as a child.”

Farrell was born on Sept. 19, 1951, in San Pedro. His father, John Farrell Sr., was a postal supervisor. His mother Martha was a teacher.

Farrell’s brother, Edward, two nephews, a niece and a great-grand nephew, survive him.

A graduate of San Pedro High School, Farrell was much less of a bohemian in his youth than he was in his later years. He always wanted to be a writer. In fact, he even started a small newspaper, Edward remembered. He later attended Harbor College before transferring to Cal State Long Beach to study journalism.

Farrell also was a proud member of the Baker Street Irregulars, a literary society established in 1934 that’s dedicated to the study of Sherlock Holmes. Farrell’s title at the society was “The Tiger of San Pedro.”

“He really had three lives: Sherlock Holmes, music and theater,” his brother said.

Farrell will be cremated. No funeral services are planned at this time. A celebration of life might be in the plans for the future. In lieu of flowers, Farrell’s family is asking friends, readers and loved ones to attend a show in his memory.

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