Rita Ann Johnson
August 13, 1913
Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||October 31, 1965 (aged 52)|
|Resting place||Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California|
(m. 1940; div. 1943)
(m. 1943; div. 1946)
Johnson began acting on Broadway in 1935 and started her film career two years later. She played a murderer in Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) and a doomed wife in the RKO film noir They Won't Believe Me (1947).
In an incident that was never fully explained, Johnson suffered a head trauma on September 6, 1948 that required brain surgery. Unsubstantiated rumors promulgated by gossip columnists such as Walter Winchell suggested she might have been abused by a boyfriend, but the only explanation she offered was that a large, industrial-grade hair dryer at her apartment had fallen on her. She was in a coma for two weeks and it was reported, "It took her a year to recover. Her left side was paralyzed temporarily, and for a while she couldn't walk." It put a virtual halt to her film career. Her screen time in movies after that was limited due to her reduced mobility and powers of concentration.
- London by Night (1937) - Patricia Herrick
- My Dear Miss Aldrich (1937) - Ellen Warfield
- Man-Proof (1938) - Florence
- Letter of Introduction (1938) - Honey
- Smashing the Rackets (1938) - Letty Lane
- Rich Man, Poor Girl (1938) - Sally Harrison
- The Girl Downstairs (1938) - Rosalind Brown
- Honolulu (1939) - Cecelia Grayson
- Within the Law (1939) - Agnes
- Broadway Serenade (1939) - Judith Tyrrell
- 6,000 Enemies (1939) - Anne Barry
- Stronger Than Desire (1939) - Barbara Winter
- They All Come Out (1939) - Kitty Carson
- Nick Carter, Master Detective (1939) - Lou Farnsby
- Congo Maisie (1940) - Kay McWade
- The Golden Fleecing (1940) - Marian Edwards
- Edison, the Man (1940) - Mary Stilwell
- Forty Little Mothers (1940) - Mary Blake
- Maisie Was a Lady (1941) - Minor Role (scenes deleted)
- Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) - Julia Farnsworth
- Appointment for Love (1941) - Nancy Benson
- The Major and the Minor (1942) - Pamela Hill
- My Friend Flicka (1943) - Nell McLaughlin
- The Affairs of Susan (1945) - Mona Kent
- Thunderhead, Son of Flicka (1945) - Nelle McLaughlin
- The Naughty Nineties (1945) - Bonita Farrow
- Pardon My Past (1945) - Mary Pemberton
- The Perfect Marriage (1947) - Mabel Manning
- The Michigan Kid (1947) - Sue Dawson
- They Won't Believe Me (1947) - Greta Ballentine
- Sleep, My Love (1948) - Barby
- The Big Clock (1948) - Pauline York
- An Innocent Affair (1948) - Eve Lawrence
- Family Honeymoon (1948) - Minna Fenster
- The Second Face (1950) - Claire Elwood
- Susan Slept Here (1954) - Dr. Rawley, Harvey's Shrink
- Emergency Hospital (1956) - Head Nurse Norma Mullin
- All Mine to Give (1957) - Katie Tyler (final film role)
|1943||Lux Radio Theatre||My Friend Flicka|
|1952||Family Theater||The Crossroads of Christmas|
- Parish gives year of birth as 1912, but her grave marker says 1913.
- Parish, James Robert; Bowers, Ronald L. (1974). The MGM Stock Company: The Golden Era'. Allan. p. 379. ISBN 0-7110-0501-X.
- "Rita Johnson". BFI. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
- "Rita Johnson Near Death From Hair Drier Blow". The Post-Standard. September 11, 1948. p. 1. Retrieved June 8, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Weinstock, Matt (August 13, 2013). "The Booby-Trapped Life of Rita Johnson". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
- "What's New from Coast to Coast" (PDF). Radio and Television Mirror. 14 (1): 8–9, 80. May 1940. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
- Rita Johnson at IMDb
- "Film Star Succumbing To Mystery Injuries". The Evening News. September 10, 1948. p. 1. Retrieved June 8, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Rita Johnson Battles for Comeback Movie Roles". The Times. June 11, 1952. p. 17. Retrieved June 8, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Divorce Granted to Rita Johnson". The Milwaukee Journal. June 29, 1943. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
- "RITA JOHNSON, 52, ACTRESS IN FILMS; Mother in 'My Friend, Flicka' !s Dead in Hollywood". New York Times. November 3, 1965. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
- "Lux Theatre Guest". Harrisburg Telegraph. Harrisburg Telegraph. June 5, 1943. p. 17. Retrieved December 23, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Kirby, Walter (December 21, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 44. Retrieved June 8, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
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