LA Sketches: John Nazarian, Defender of the Underdog

15 February, 2022


Por­trait of John Nazar­i­an by LA artist Zareh.


The mul­ti-tal­ent­ed John Nazar­i­an (1937- 2022) was born in Alep­po, Syr­ia and after grad­u­at­ing from high school in 1955, he moved to Los Ange­les to con­tin­ue his edu­ca­tion. He aspired to become a writer and par­tic­i­pat­ed in the The­ater Arts of Pasade­na Play­house. In 1963, he was cast in the Armen­ian film Aryun­abardeh, play­ing the role of a feday­een. In 1970, John aban­doned his stud­ies in film and the­atre and began work­ing as a pro­ba­tion coun­selor, where he helped many Armen­ian pris­on­ers. He retired from his pro­ba­tion work after 21 years.

John was always a defend­er of the under­dog and thought there is great­ness in cham­pi­oning the poor, the down­trod­den and the out­cast. He was their com­pas­sion­ate and under­stand­ing friend. He helped them moral­ly and finan­cial­ly. His home was open to them and he spent time with them. He remained a key fig­ure in the L.A. Armen­ian com­mu­ni­ty until his death at the age of 84, leav­ing behind a large fam­i­ly, includ­ing his wife and two sons; his grand­son Jacob; and his many nephews, nieces, cousins, rel­a­tives and friends.  —Dr. Vahan Tootikian, cour­tesy of The Armen­ian Week­ly.



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