John was born and raised in downtown Toronto to Italian parents who made the long journey to Canada to start a new life. He first caught the acting/filmmaking bug in Grade 8, when Aiko Suzuki (sister of David Suzuki) came to his class and taught a course in super 8 filmmaking. John played his first leading role as a blind boy in a film shot in the then new Spadina subway station.
It would take a diversion into athletics before John would return to his passion for the arts. John found his focus in athletics at Central Tech High School. John would go on to be part of the record-breaking 4×100m relay team alongside Olympian Atlee Mahorn. His speed caught the attention of the football team and in his senior year he would be awarded an Athletic Scholarship to Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC.
It was in the Simon Fraser Theater program that John's passion for acting was ignited. After two years at the university, he made the move to New York to join his older brother Frank. John studied with acclaimed acting teacher Julie Bovasso.
John found his way back to Vancouver where he spent a few years doing plays, a variety of TV and film projects and eventually landed his first big Hollywood feature film—Alive. Soon after John began landing roles, resulting in a permanent move to LA. There he found The Actors Studio. This prestigious institution would soon accept John as a lifetime member. John's passion for the stage led to him co-founding the 3rd Street Theatre in Los Angeles.