RIP John Thompson: Tivoli Theatre's Beloved Ticket Taker Leaves Legacy of Kindness

Categories: Movies

Paul Sableman, Flickr
The Tivoli Theatre, where John Thompson became famous in St. Louis for his bright smile and kind heart.
The Tivoli Theatre experience will never be the same again.

The Loop's favorite ticket taker, John Thompson, died of a heart attack at the age of 74 Wednesday, devastating the film buffs and neighborhood regulars who came to know him as the kindest man in St. Louis.

"He warmed the hearts of tens of thousands of people who came to the Tivoli Theatre and to the Loop," says Joe Edwards, the owner of some of the Loop's signature spots, including Blueberry Hill and the Moonrise Hotel. "Everybody knew him. In addition to greeting people, he made their lives brighter."

See also: 20 Signs You Spend Too Much Time in the Loop

Lindsay Toler
A small remembrance for John Thompson in the box office of the Tivoli Theatre.
Thompson perfected the art of going the extra mile during his 35 years at the Tivoli. He was famous for feeding patrons' meters, walking them to their cars and passing out umbrellas when it rained.

"He was just always thinking about everybody else, always doing things for everyone," says Laura Resnick, the theater manager, who knew Thompson for 35 years. "That's what he aspired to be, a good person. And boy, did he do it."

Thompson landed the greeter gig by bugging Resnick's brother, Alan, who was then the manager, for a job every time he came to the movies -- which was often. Alan brushed him off, his sister says, by telling him he only hired cute young girls.

"John [Thompson] finally talked him into it, and he worked here ever since," Resnick remembers.

The theater posted a small remembrance -- a poster and a candy rose -- in the ticket booth in Thompson's honor. Resnick says she's waiting for approval from the family to put something about his death on the marquee he loved so much.

In his final years, Thompson's life took a happy turn when he met his wife, Fran, five years ago. She was a film buff herself, "so of course John [Thompson] had a crush on her," says Resnick.

Continue reading for more about Thompson's life-changing love.

Location Info


Landmark Tivoli Theatre

6350 Delmar Blvd., University City, MO

Category: Film

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Michele Chapel
Michele Chapel

John will truly be missed by many whose lives he touched....RIP JT

Jeffrey Reddick
Jeffrey Reddick

I used to mainain the ticket dude's Harley that worked the gate at "The Rocky Horror" Fri. nite midnight shows for years. Wonder where he went.(Varsity)

Randy Jones
Randy Jones

Very good man down. he will be missed great deal.

Debbie Swain
Debbie Swain

What's amazing is he would remember patrons named too. He will be missed.

Gale O Kibby
Gale O Kibby

Oh WOW! Recently moved away from St Louis after 35 years. I was a frequent visitor to The Tivoli and remember John well. Sorry to hear of his death.condolences to his family.

David J. McCutcheon
David J. McCutcheon

He was always a pleasant fellow to myself and everyone I knew. I'd see him there quite often. I'll miss his warm demeanor.

Diana Tunon
Diana Tunon

I knew the man, worked right next to him in the ticket booth. Was part of the first wave of employees that joined the Tivoli after Joe reopened it. I remember Joe coming by quite often to see to things. And of course I remember John Thompson. I was young and dumb in the 90's, a freshman in college. And I remember John was incredibly patient with the pain in the ass I must have been at that age. But I always adored him. We all did. Even as dumb kids, everyone that worked in that theater knew he was something special.

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