Actor John Corbett Comes Home to Alma Mater

As the fall semester began, students of Wheeling Central Catholic High School were treated to a special visit by actor and musician John Corbett. The 46-year-old Wheeling native and 1979 Central graduate spent two hours at his alma mater, visiting with former teachers and reading the afternoon announcements over the school’s closed-circuit television station.

Corbett said he enjoys getting back to Wheeling. He also spoke fondly of CCHS Principal Joseph “Doc” Viglietta. “He is Central,” Corbett said referring to Viglietta. “We’re here today because of him.”

Prior to making the school announcements, Corbett told students that Central is lucky to have so many “teaching legends.” Those who had the most impact on his life, he said, were Viglietta, English teachers Lou Volpe and Debbie Toland, coach Greg Sacco, computer literature and science teacher Frank Przybysz and social studies teacher Sally Beatty.

“Remember to get involved,” Corbett told the students before starting the announcements. “Play an instrument, do a play or join a club or team … just make the most of it while you’re here.”

At the end of the announcements, Corbett joined Viglietta and the entire CCHS student body in reading aloud the afternoon daily prayer. He then remained at school to sign autographs and pose for photos with students.

“Whenever I speak of John Corbett, I must use the superlative degree — Johnny’s the best,” Viglietta said. “Although he is held in the highest regard professionally, John has never lost his ‘down home,’ friendly, considerate, respectful, humble and altruistic disposition. He was that way in high school, and he is still the same today. It was beautiful to watch John interact with Central students and teachers today. They share the same spirit — he loves them and they love John. Today was a memorable day.”

Corbett was in Wheeling to attend the 16th birthday party of his godson, Gregory George, a Central sophomore and son of his closest childhood friend and fellow graduate of the Class of 1979, Greg George. Corbett’s Southern rock band, The John Corbett Band, played at the birthday party. Corbett’s self-titled debut album was released in 2006 on his own independent label, Fun Bone Records.

Corbett is best known for his roles in such films as “My Big, Fat Greek Wedding,” “Raising Helen” and, most recently, the horror movie, “The Messengers,” released in February. His television credits include the 1980s hit “Northern Exposure” and “Sex and the City” in the mid-1990s.