Van Johnson

Actor, Singer, Chorus boy
A freckled-faced boy-next-door, actor Van Johnson became a big star at MGM in the 1940s and 1950s when he came to Hollywood from the Broadway chorus. He cornered the market on genial guys who romanced nice girls like ... Read more »
Born: 08/25/1916 in Newport, Rhode Island, USA

Filmography

Actor (63)

Angela Lansbury: A Balancing Act 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Spencer Tracy: Triumph and Turmoil 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Lucy & Desi: TV's First Couple 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

MGM: When the Lion Roars 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

The Thalians 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Three Days to a Kill 1991 (Movie)

World Security Ambassador General Howard (Actor)

An Evening With Alan Jay Lerner 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Delta Force Commando 2 1990 (Movie)

General John McCailland (Actor)

Fuga dal Paradiso 1990 (Movie)

Old Man (Actor)

Going Hollywood: The War Years 1987 (Movie)

Narration (Narrator)

Happy Birthday, Hollywood! 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Glitter 1984 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Laggiu Nella Giungla 1986 (Movie)

(Actor)

Murder, She Wrote 1984 - 1986 (Tv Show)

Actor

The 39th Annual Tony Awards 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

The Night of 100 Stars II 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

The Purple Rose of Cairo 1985 (Movie)

Larry (Actor)

John Schneider's Christmas Holiday 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)

Actor

One Day At A Time 1975 - 1984 (TV Show)

Actor

The Kidnapping of the President 1979 (Movie)

V P Ethan Richards (Actor)

Black Beauty 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

Rich Man, Poor Man: Book II 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Actor

Man in the Middle 1971 - 1972 (TV Show)

Actor

The Golddiggers 1971 - 1972 (TV Show)

Actor

Company of Killers 1969 (Movie)

(Actor)

Where Angels Go... Trouble Follows 1968 (Movie)

Father Chase (Actor)

Yours, Mine and Ours 1968 (Movie)

Darrel Harrison (Actor)

Divorce American Style 1967 (Movie)

Al Yearling (Actor)

Wives and Lovers 1962 (Movie)

Bill Austin (Actor)

The June Allyson Show 1959 - 1961 (TV Show)

Actor

The Enemy General 1960 (Movie)

Lemaire (Actor)

Subway in the Sky 1958 (Movie)

Baxter (Actor)

The Last Blitzkrieg 1958 (Movie)

Sergeant Richardson Kroner (Actor)

23 Paces to Baker Street 1956 (Movie)

Phillip Hannon (Actor)

Miracle in the Rain 1956 (Movie)

Arthur Hugenon (Actor)

The Bottom of the Bottle 1955 (Movie)

Donald Martin (Actor)

The End of the Affair 1955 (Movie)

Maurice Bendrix (Actor)

Brigadoon 1954 (Movie)

Jeff Douglas (Actor)

Men of the Fighting Lady 1954 (Movie)

Lieutenant Howard Thayer (Actor)

The Caine Mutiny 1954 (Movie)

Lieutenant Steve Maryk (Actor)

The Last Time I Saw Paris 1954 (Movie)

Charles Wills (Actor)

Confidentially Connie 1953 (Movie)

Joe Bedloe (Actor)

Easy to Love 1953 (Movie)

Ray Lloyd (Actor)

It's a Big Country 1952 (Movie)

Rev. Adam Burch (Actor)

Too Young to Kiss 1951 (Movie)

Eric Wainwright (Actor)

Command Decision 1949 (Movie)

(Actor)

State of the Union 1948 (Movie)

'Spike' McManus (Actor)

The Romance of Rosy Ridge 1947 (Movie)

(Actor)

The War Against Mrs. Hadley 1941 (Movie)

(Actor)

Ava Gardner (TV Show)

Actor

Bacall on Bogart (TV Show)

Actor

Batman (TV Show)

Actor

Call Her Mom (TV Show)

Actor

Clowning Around (TV Show)

Actor

Getting Married (TV Show)

Actor

Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie (TV Show)

Actor

Rich Man, Poor Man (TV Show)

Actor

San Francisco International (TV Show)

Actor

Superdome (TV Show)

Actor

The Doomsday Flight (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

A freckled-faced boy-next-door, actor Van Johnson became a big star at MGM in the 1940s and 1950s when he came to Hollywood from the Broadway chorus. He cornered the market on genial guys who romanced nice girls like June Allyson and Esther Williams in comedies and musicals, which made him a top box office draw during the war and into post-war America. On occasion, he was given a chance to show some dramatic grit in war pictures like "Thirty Seconds over Tokyo" (1944) and "Battleground" (1949). Johnson's career faded in the early 1960s, though he remained active on television and theater until the early 1990s. Johnson's air of sympathetic concern, boyish energy and sometimes larger-than-life acting style ensured his enduring status as one of the most well-liked symbols of Hollywood's Golden Age.

Relationships

Eve Johnson

Wife
Married from 1947-1968 had previously been married to Van Johnson's close friend Keenan Wynn, whom she had married in 1939

Charles Johnson

Father
Swedish parents divorced when he was three father retained custody

Loretta Johnson

Mother
Reportedly was an alcoholic

Schuyler Johnson

Daughter
Mother, Eve Abbott

Ned Wynn

Step-Son
Born in 1941 wrote memoir We Will Always Live in Beverly Hills (1990)

Tracy Wynn

Step-Son
Born in 1945 won Emmy for teleplay "Tribes"

EDUCATION

Rogers High School

Newport , Rhode Island 1935

Milestones

1991

Appeared on the CBS interview special, "Burt Reynolds' Conversations With..."

1991

Left California Music Theatre's revival of "Show Boat" (played Captain Andy) during previews due to illness (September)

1990

Starred in a St. Louis revival of the 1920s Broadway musical classic, "No, No, Nanette"

1985

Replaced star Gene Barry in the long-running Broadway musical "La Cage aux Folles"

1976

Reprised the role of Marsh Goodwin, in the ABC spinoff series, "Rich Man, Poor Man: Book II"

1976

Played a leading role in "Battle Command"

1976

Received a supporting Emmy nomination for the ABC miniseries "Rich Man, Poor Man"

1972

Starred in the CBS pilot, "Man in the Middle"; was not picked up as a series

1967

Returned to features after four years in "Divorce American Style"

1966

First TV-movie, "The Doomsday Flight"

1964

Starred in the CBS pilot "At Your Service"; was not picked up for a series

1963

First film in three years and also his last starring role in features for years, "Wives and Lovers"; also his last of three films opposite Janet Leigh

1963

Toured with nightclub act which was interrupted by operation for skin cancer

1962

Returned to the US to star opposite Carroll Baker in the Broadway production of "Come on Strong"

1961

Made London stage debut in "The Music Man"

1960

Last film for three years, "The Enemy General"

1959

Moved to Switzerland with his family

1957

Starred in TV special, "The Pied Piper of Hamelin"

1955

First non-US feature, "The End of the Affair"; starred opposite Deborah Kerr in the British-made production

1955

Made TV debut on "The Last Spring" (an installment of the "Loretta Young Show")

1953

Made last film opposite June Allyson, "Remains to Be Seen" and last one opposite Esther Williams, "Easy to Love"

1947

First of three films opposite Janet Leigh, "The Romance of Rosy Ridge"

1943

Made first of five films opposite June Allyson, "Two Girls and a Sailor"; first film in which he was received top billing

1942

Breakthrough film, "A Guy Named Joe"; first of five films he made opposite Esther Williams

1941

Began to attract attention in film, "Dr. Gillespie's New Assistant"

1941

Signed to six-month contract by Warner Brothers (at $300/week); studio dropped his option after two films

1941

Signed to seven-year contract by MGM

1940

Again cast by George Abbott for a small part and also as Gene Kelly's understudy in Rodgers and Hart's Broadway musical, "Pal Joey"

1940

Film debut, "Too Many Girls" (in chorus)

1939

Hired by George Abbott as an understudy to three male leads in Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's "Too Many Girls"

1936

Appeared in the Broadway production of "New Faces of 1936"

1935

Moved to New York; first job in Off-Broadway was the musical revue, "Entre Nous"

1919

Raised by father after parents' divorce

Performed musical entertainment for local Kiwanis and Lions clubs while in high school

Made nightclub debut in Las Vegas in the mid-1950s

Performed frequently on the dinner-theater and straw-hat theater circuits through the 1970s and 80s

Bonus Trivia

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In 1942, Johnson was driving to special screening of "Keeper of the Flame," when he was injured in a car accident which required a metal plate to be inserted in his forehead and disqualified him for WWII military service.

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