Jack Turnbull, Veteran Acting Coach, Dies of COVID-19 Complications at 72

Courtesy Lynda Arnold
Jack Turnbull

His clients included Hailee Steinfeld, Amandla Stenberg and Skyler Gisondo.

Jack Turnbull, a highly regarded acting coach and teacher with clients that included such young stars as Hailee Steinfeld, Amandla Stenberg, Skyler Gisondo and Holly Taylor, has died. He was 72.

Turnbull died Sunday at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, California, after a monthlong battle with COVID-19, Seven Stars Talent president and CEO Lynda Arnold announced.

Turnbull, who helped teach the craft through The Actorsite, which he launched in the early 1990s, saw more than 100 of his clients find success on television and in films during his 25-plus years in Los Angeles.

Those who went through his Actorsite program or worked with Turnbull himself over the years also included Brittany Snow, Sydney Sweeney, Jenna Boyd, Paris Berelc, Major Curda, Tiffany Espensen, Dante Brown, Robert Cartrini, Danika Yarosh, Charlie McDermott, Hana Hayes, Cody Saintgnue and Victoria Justice.

The Actorsite had closed its doors in North Hollywood and moved to a fully virtual studio long before the coronavirus pandemic hit this year. Turnbull was active in online training with students from around the country until he received his diagnosis in early May.

Born in Springfield, Missouri, the gregarious Turnbull found a love of film production and casting in Florida before relocating to L.A. to form one the longest-standing training programs for young and adult actors in the area. A favorite quote of his was, "Acting is a muscle — you gotta work it out!"

Turnbull also offered free newsletters filled with casting information and encouragement and was a member of the Facebook group Talent Managers for Actors, comprised of managers, agents, attorneys, coaches, actors and headshot photographers. He offered free coaching sessions through TMFA to more 65,000 actors worldwide.

"He was fun-loving, exuberant, full of energy, comical and quite the character," Arnold said in a statement. "There is not a person whose life he has touched who doesn't remember a special moment, kind word [or] encouraging conversation they had with him."

Turnbull also favored the fist bump — long before COVID-19 made it a common practice — as a way to teach actors, especially young ones, about the need to protect casting directors from germs.

Survivors include Jessa, his wife of nearly 10 years, and children Venise, John Robert and Zayne. An online memorial is being planned.