Tino Insana, Second City Alum, Dies at 69

Courtesy Photo
Tino Insana

He was hired with John Belushi, became pals with John Candy and went on to voice the role of Uncle Ted on TV's 'Bobby's World.'

Tino Insana, the Second City alum who provided the voice for Uncle Ted on the animated TV series Bobby's World, has died. He was 69.

Insana died Thursday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles owing to complications from a bout with cancer.

“Tino was adored by every generation of Second City. He was always an ensemble player who had the respect and adoration of his peers. He will be deeply missed," Second City owner and CEO Andrew Alexander said on his company's Facebook page.

Insana was born in Chicago in 1948 as the son of an Italian maestro and was discovered by Second City producer Joyce Sloane when he and his friends Steve Beshekas and John Belushi were performing in Chicago coffeehouse shows under the troupe name of the West Compass Players.

When Second City producers went to investigate the trio for allegedly borrowing material from its own Chicago comedy shows, rather than sue them, they hired them. "Instead of sending a cease and desist, Joyce and Bernie Sahlins hired John and Tino to be part of The Second City ensemble," Second City recalled on its Facebook page.

Insana appeared at Second City alongside John Candy, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, Eugenie Ross-Leming and Betty Thomas. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter last year, Candy's children, Jen and Chris, recalled Insana looking out for them after their father's untimely death.

"I will say Tino Insana, who has done a lot of voiceover work — he was Uncle Ted in Bobby’s World — was one of my dad’s best friends, and he's always been there for Chris and me," Jen said. "He has always given me sound advice," brother Chris added.

In 1975, Insana left Second City to form his own comedy troupe with two other castmembers, Jim Staahl and Jim Fisher.

Howie Mandel paid tribute to Insana for his work on Bobby's World.

"Tino was like that teddy bear that brought you comfort and you didn’t want to lose," Mandel said in a statement.

Insana had a successful 25-year career as a voice actor. He lent his voice to hundreds of hours of TV animation, including Spaceballs, Darkwing Duck, Barnyard, Camp Candy, Bubble Guppies, Pepper Ann, Teacher’s Pet, Buzz Lightyear, Aladdin and Goof Troop.

Insana's TV credits included Designing Women, Night Court, Mad About You, Dream On and Curb Your Enthusiasm. He also appeared in movies like Neighbors, Three Amigos, Who’s Harry Crumb? and Beverly Hills Cop III.

Insana is survived by his wife of 42 years, Dana, brothers Craig and Chris and sister Cynthia.