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Van Johnson

Van JohnsonAKA Charles Van Johnson

Born: 25-Aug-1916
Birthplace: Newport, RI
Died: 12-Dec-2008
Location of death: Nyack, NY [1]
Cause of death: Natural Causes
Remains: Cremated

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Bisexual
Occupation: Actor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: The Caine Mutiny

Van Johnson was a baby-faced, redheaded, rather hammy film actor of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. He is perhaps best remembered as the executive officer who seized command from Captain Queeg (Humphrey Bogart) in The Caine Mutiny. He also starred in Battleground with Ricardo Montalban, and Frank Capra's State of the Union.

His parents divorced when Johnson was a toddler, and his father was given custody due to the mother's alcoholism. Young Johnson was dancing in theatrical musicals while still attending high school, and made his Broadway debut as a chorus boy in 1936. He was still in the chorus for the 1939 Broadway production of Richard Rodgers' Too Many Girls, and he made his film debut dancing the same role when the play was filmed with Lucille Ball.

For many years, Johnson was an extremely close friend of actor Keenan Wynn and Wynn's wife, Eve. They had met when all three were struggling actors in New York in the late 1930s, and after Johnson and Wynn both signed with MGM and moved to Hollywood, the bachelor Johnson reportedly spent as much time at the Wynns' home as at his own residence. In 1943, the Wynns were passengers in Johnson's car when it was broadsided by another vehicle which ran a red light. Johnson was seriously injured, and had a metal plate installed in his head. He then recuperated for several months at the Wynns' home.

The accident may have been a lucky break for Johnson, as it left him unsuitable for military duty during World War II. While many of his contemporaries were at war, Johnson rose to prominence playing military men in features like A Guy Named Joe with Spencer Tracy, Two Girls and a Sailor with June Allyson and Gloria DeHaven, and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo with Robert Walker.

In 1947, the Wynns were divorced, and Johnson married the former Eve Wynn on the same day her divorce was finalized. They were separated in 1961 when, according to Johnson's stepson Ned Wynn, Johnson had an affair with a chorus boy during a stage production of The Music Man. In 1999, just a few years before her death, Eve Wynn Johnson told a reporter that her marriage to Johnson had been arranged at MGM's request, as the studio "needed their 'big star' to be married to quell rumors about his sexual preferences," and she was the only woman he would agree to marry.


[1] Tappan Zee Manor, Nyack, NY.

Father: Charles E Johnson (plumbing contractor)
Mother: Loretta Johnson (housewife)
Wife: Eve Lynn Abbott (m. 25-Jan-1947, sep. 1961, div. 1968, d. 19-Jul-2004, one daughter)
Daughter: Schuyler Johnson (proofreader, b. 1948)
Son: Ned Wynn (actor, stepson, b. 27-Apr-1941 to Abbott and
Keenan Wynn)
Son: Tracy Keenan Wynn (screenwriter, stepson. b. 28-Feb-1945 to Abbott and Wynn)

    High School: Rogers High School, Newport, RI

    Draft Deferment: World War II
    Risk Factors: Skin Cancer

    FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
    Clowning Around (1992)
    The Purple Rose of Cairo (1-Mar-1985)
    The Kidnapping of the President (15-Aug-1980)
    The Concorde Affair (23-Mar-1979)
    Getting Married (17-May-1978)
    Superdome (9-Jan-1978)
    Rich Man, Poor Man (1-Feb-1976)
    Company of Killers (1970)
    Eagles Over London (20-Sep-1969)
    Yours, Mine and Ours (24-Apr-1968)
    Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows (10-Apr-1968) · Fr. Chase
    Divorce American Style (21-Jun-1967) · Al Yearling
    The Doomsday Flight (13-Dec-1966)
    Wives and Lovers (28-Aug-1963) · Bill Austin
    Subway in the Sky (Nov-1959)
    Web of Evidence (28-Apr-1959)
    The Last Blitzkrieg (30-Jan-1959)
    The Pied Piper of Hamelin (26-Nov-1957)
    Action of the Tiger (30-Aug-1957)
    Kelly and Me (1957)
    23 Paces to Baker Street (18-May-1956) · Phillip Hannon
    Miracle in the Rain (31-Mar-1956)
    The Bottom of the Bottle (1-Feb-1956)
    The End of the Affair (23-Feb-1955) · Maurice Bendrix
    The Last Time I Saw Paris (18-Nov-1954) · Charles Wills
    Brigadoon (8-Sep-1954) · Jeff Douglas
    The Caine Mutiny (24-Jun-1954) · Lt. Steve Maryk
    Men of the Fighting Lady (7-May-1954)
    The Siege at Red River (2-Apr-1954)
    Easy to Love (26-Nov-1953) · Ray Lloyd
    Remains to be Seen (15-May-1953)
    Confidentially Connie (13-Mar-1953) · Joe Bedloe
    Plymouth Adventure (14-Nov-1952) · John Alden
    Washington Story (1-Jul-1952)
    When in Rome (11-May-1952) · Fr. John
    Invitation (29-Jan-1952) · Dan I. Pierce
    Too Young to Kiss (22-Nov-1951) · Eric Wainwright
    It's a Big Country (20-Nov-1951) · Adam Burch
    Go for Broke! (24-May-1951) · Lt. Michael Grayson
    Three Guys Named Mike (1-Mar-1951) · Michael Lawrence
    Grounds For Marriage (11-Jan-1951)
    Duchess of Idaho (14-Jul-1950) · Dick Layne
    The Big Hangover (26-May-1950)
    Battleground (9-Nov-1949) · Holley
    In the Good Old Summertime (29-Jul-1949) · Andrew Delby Larkin
    Scene of the Crime (28-Jul-1949)
    Mother Is a Freshman (12-Mar-1949)
    Command Decision (23-Dec-1948) · Tech. Sgt. Immanuel T. Evans
    State of the Union (30-Apr-1948) · Spike McManus
    The Bride Goes Wild (3-Mar-1948)
    The Romance of Rosy Ridge (4-Aug-1947)
    High Barbaree (May-1947) · Alec Brooke
    Till the Clouds Roll By (5-Dec-1946) · Bandleader
    No Leave, No Love (3-Oct-1946)
    Easy to Wed (11-Jul-1946) · Bill Stevens Chandler
    Weekend at the Waldorf (5-Oct-1945) · Capt. James Hollis
    Thrill of a Romance (23-May-1945) · Maj. Thomas Milvaine
    Between Two Women (28-Mar-1945)
    Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (15-Nov-1944) · Ted Lawson
    Three Men in White (25-May-1944)
    The White Cliffs of Dover (11-May-1944) · Sam Bennett
    Two Girls and a Sailor (27-Apr-1944) · John Dyckman Brown III
    A Guy Named Joe (23-Dec-1943) · Ted Randall
    Madame Curie (15-Dec-1943) · Reporter
    Pilot #5 (24-Jun-1943) · Everett Arnold
    Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case (May-1943) · Dr. Adams
    The Human Comedy (2-Mar-1943) · Marcus Macauley
    Dr. Gillespie's New Assistant (Nov-1942)
    The War Against Mrs. Hadley (7-Aug-1942) · Michael Fitzpatrick
    Murder in the Big House (11-Apr-1942)

Appears on the cover of:
Modern Screen, May-1945, DETAILS: "That's My Boy!" by Van Johnson's Dad



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