Chubby Johnson

Charles Randolph "Chubby" Johnson[1] (August 13, 1903 – October 31, 1974) was an American film and television supporting character actor with a genial demeanor and warm, country-accented voice.

Chubby Johnson
Stepin Fetchit-Chubby Johnson in Bend of the River.jpg
Stepin Fetchit and Chubby Johnson (right)
Charles Randolph Johnson

(1903-08-13)August 13, 1903
DiedOctober 31, 1974(1974-10-31) (aged 71)
OccupationActor, journalist
Years active1946-1972

Early yearsEdit

A native of Terre Haute, Indiana,[citation needed] Johnson was the son of entertainers. His father was a comedian in vaudeville, and his mother was a concert pianist.[2] As a child, Johnson performed with his father in vaudeville.[3]


Before he became an actor, Johnson was a journalist whose employers included the Las Vegas Sun.[2] He also acted on stage, including a five-year span during which he appeared in a new play each week at the Warner Egyptian Theater in Pasadena.[2]

Beginning with the Randolph Scott Western Abilene Town, which also starred Ann Dvorak and Edgar Buchanan, in which he had an uncredited part as a homesteader, Johnson made more than 80 screen appearances between 1946 and 1972.

Johnson appeared in eight different roles between 1957 and 1961 in the ABC/Warner Bros. television series Maverick opposite James Garner, Jack Kelly, or Roger Moore, usually playing a stagecoach driver or deputy. No supporting actor appeared on the series more often. His Maverick episodes were "Stage West" as a stagecoach depot manager, "The Strange Journey of Jenny Hill" in an inexplicably uncredited role as a drunken messenger in an alley, "Pappy" as a whiskey-serving storekeeper, "The Sheriff of Duck 'n' Shoot" as a comically loquacious deputy, "The Misfortune Teller" as a different deputy, "The Maverick Line" as a stagecoach driver, "Destination Devil's Flat" as another deputy, and "The Cactus Switch" as another stagecoach driver.

In 1959, Johnson was cast as Sheriff Ed Wilson in the episode "The Twisted Road" of the syndicated Rex Allen Western series, Frontier Doctor. With a surprise ending, the episode features Robert Vaughn and Virginia Christine as a brother and sister.[4][better source needed] That same year, he played the stagecoach driver first suspected as a fraud in the episode "The Avengers" (May 12, 1959) of the ABC/Warner Bros. Western series Sugarfoot, starring Will Hutchins in the title role.

In 1960, Johnson was cast with Virginia Gregg in the roles of Jessie and Julie Turnbull in the episode, "The Last Days of Jessie Turnbull", of the ABC Western drama, The Man from Blackhawk, starring Robert Rockwell as a roving insurance investigator.[5][better source needed]

In 1960, Johnson also appeared as Charlie Pringle in an episode of the Boris Karloff-hosted anthology television series "Thriller" starring Jack Carson titled "The Big Blackout". He performed in 1960 as well on The Andy Griffith Show in the episode "A Feud is a Feud". As he did so often, especially in his roles in Westerns, Johnson portrayed his character in this episode with his lower dental bridge removed, giving him a snaggletoothed appearance and enhancing the authenticity of his persona as a mountain man.

From 1962 to 1972, he appeared eight times on NBC's Bonanza. In the 1960s, Johnson appeared four times on CBS's Gunsmoke, three times on ABC's The Guns of Will Sonnett with Walter Brennan, and three times on ABC's The Rifleman, first in 1960 as Kansas Sawyer in the episode "The Horse Trader", then in 1960 as Mr. Avery married to Ellen Corby in "The Spoiler", and then in 1962 in "Guilty Conscience" as "the old man".

Johnson guest-starred three times as Buzz, the salvage man, on the CBS children's sitcom, Dennis the Menace, with Jay North as young Dennis Mitchell. Johnson's episodes are "The School Play" and "Dennis and the Pee Wee League" (both 1961), and "The Treasure Chest" (1962).[6][better source needed]

In the 1950s Western-themed adventure series, Sky King, starring Kirby Grant and Gloria Winters, Johnson played Jim Bell, the ranch foreman. In 1963, he was cast as Concho in several episodes of NBC's Temple Houston, starring Jeffrey Hunter in the title role. Late in his career, he appeared twice on the syndicated Western anthology series, Death Valley Days.

Later yearsEdit

Johnson lived in the Tarzana neighborhood of Los Angeles. As honorary mayor of Tarzana, he participated in numerous activities of the chamber of commerce, which resulted in his receiving the group's top recognition for community service.[2]


On October 31, 1974, Johnson died of unknown causes at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital at age 71.[1]

Partial filmographyEdit


  1. ^ a b "Actor Chubby Johnson Dies at 71". Oakland Tribune. California, Oakland. Associated Press. November 2, 1974. p. 31. Retrieved January 14, 2020 – via
  2. ^ a b c d Keropian, Haig (March 8, 1970). "Chubby Johnson Maintains Reputation as Entertainer". Valley News. California, Van Nuys. p. 3. Retrieved January 14, 2020 – via
  3. ^ Huether, John (June 29, 1974). "Inside stuff: Why Jimmy Stewart stutters, Brando mumbles". Reno Gazette-Journal. Nevada, Reno. p. 11. Retrieved January 14, 2020 – via
  4. ^ ""The Twisted Road", April 25, 1959". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  5. ^ "The Man from Blackhawk". Classic Television Archives. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  6. ^ "Chubby Johnson". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved February 9, 2013.

External linksEdit