Dominic Manfredi ’62
From The Archives
DOMINIC VINCENT MANFREDI
103 Barker Avenue, Eatontown, N.J.
Mt. Hermon School
Dominic Manfredi ’62 died January 3, 1999.
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He was also known by his stage name “John D’Arc”
From Our Reunion Book
In the fall of 1958, some of us arrived a bit tweedy, hair neatly parted. others more plain, with crew cut or flattop. Dom arrived wearing a black motorcycle jacket and sporting duck tails. As Art Heller notes, Dom looked like The Fonz before The Fonz was invented. Pete Bellows adds that Dom almost seemed to be from another planet. And what might Dom have thought of us? In any event, we soon discovered that Dom was a great addition to the class. He pursued a wide range of friendships, with Masquers, with the few black students on campus, and with his soon-to-be fellow Chi Phi pledges. He took freshman year roommates Jeff Buck and Dan Clark under his wing to show them the good life. He was very sharp, with a keen sense of humor and adventure, and was a great story-teller. As John Morehouse put it, Dom had a hilarious sense of the absurd.. And boy could he sing!! He debuted in the shower, where he could be heard at ten o'clock every night, an astounding voice. Some of us still remember his rendition of "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning". He lent his talent to the Zumbyes.
He had a New York swagger, Maybe this was because---unknown to almost all of us---he already had an entertainment career underway, launched at age three, when his mother put him in a talent contest. He had been on The Danny Thomas Show, The Jack Carter Show, The Milton Berle Show, All Star Review, and he had also performed at the Copacabana. It was too much to give up, and at Amherst he continued his career on the side, disappearing from campus on most weekends. This meant his substantial and successful interest in Holyoke and Belchertown women had to be pursued during the week. When did he study?
In the winter of sophomore year, Dom left Amherst. He also left his life as Dominic Manfredi, legally changing his name in 1962 to John D'Arc (a name he had informally started using in high school). In the summer of '61 John Morehouse did see Dom in NYC where Dom was once again performing at the Copacabana, and Dom reported also having gigs in the Catskills and Greenwich Village. But in general, we lost touch. We did not know that while most of us spent our senior year contemplating what to do after graduation, Dom was starting a 20 year run as a member of The Four Lads, which he interleaved with various solo engagements and tours with The Four Freshman and The Inkspots. He was Tony Curtis' double in The Rat Race, and served as an extra in other films. He had many TV appearances. One such was with The Four Lads on The Mike Douglas Show, which you can watch by searching YouTube for D'Arc + "Four Lads". It is two-part, and the second part is remarkable in showing the Dom we knew telling a story of how he spooked the local cops into believing the The Four Lads had committed a bank robbery.
In 1961, his interest in the other sex settled down, and he got married. He and his wife Micki had two children, a son named Robin in 1962, and a daughter name Stacy in 1966. Micki passed away in 1977, after which Dom remarried, and in 1979 moved the family out to Los Angeles. There John D'Arc shifted his attention to acting. He played major roles in The Politics of Desire (1997) and Coyote (1998). Six clips of him in Coyote can be found on YouTube by searching on D'Arc + Coyote. In Coyote his portrayal of a Mafia Don is extraordinary, better than Brando. Might he have known the type? Son Rob tells the following story of how Dom chose his stage name--
|According to my dad, while at the Copa (youngest headliner act there, ever....) He was approached by one of the "partners..." who suggested that he change his name, "...on account of people might think with a name like Dominic Manfredi, some people might think the Copa was a hang-out for 'wise guys'..." The partner suggested (!) "...something French...". classy. My dad immediately thought of Joan D' Arc, switched it to Johnny, and thus the name began.|
Then to see Dom's old sense of humor, search on D'Arc + Sketchers. Dom's also kept himself amused with another side job. Stacy describes her father spending some spare time ---
|modeling for "true confessions" type magazine (generally cast as an abusive husband, which required him standing on a box in order to tower menacingly),|
Finally as if to prove his true versatility, Dom also performed as John Adams in the musical 1776. -- search for D'Arc +1776. In it he shows impressive operatic talent.
Toward the end of his life, he was a very active and beloved member of the Riverside Community Players, just east of LA. He performed in various musicals and operettas. and branched out into directing. It was while he was directing a rehearsal of Herb Gardner's A Thousand Clowns in January of 1999, that he suffered a fatal heart attack. He left behind many devoted fans, but none more devoted than his kids. As Stacy put it, " My dad was ridiculously fabulous".
---Craig Morgan '62 with major help from Robin and Stacy D'Arc
Dom as Johnny D'Arc at the Copa Cabana
Rob, Johnny, and Stacy D'Arc
A Mellow Guy