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Susan Johnson (July 6, 1927 – February 24, 2003), also known as Susan Johnson-Kehn, was an American actress and singer. She is most well known for her Broadway performances during the 1950s, but also appeared in several films and television shows.

Susan Johnson
Susan Johnson.gif
Johnson in 1955
Born July 6, 1927
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Died February 24, 2003 (age 74)
Sacramento, California, U.S.
Cause of death Emphysema
Occupation Broadway Actress, Singer, Actress


Susan Johnson was born as Marilyn Jeanne Johnson in Columbus, Ohio. She began singing professionally at the age 3 and performed with the Columbus Opera & Symphony Company while she was in her 20s. She attended The Ohio State University before traveling to New York City to study singing.[1]

Johnson arrived in New York in 1947. She appeared on Broadway in Brigadoon (1950; revival), The Most Happy Fella (1956–57), Oh Captain! (1958), Whoop-Up (1958–59), and Donnybrook! (1961). She won the 1956 Theatre World Award for her role in The Most Happy Fella and was nominated for a Tony Award in 1958 for her role in Oh Captain!

In 1962, Johnson was thrown from her motor scooter into oncoming traffic while filming for a stock production. The accident left Johnson with a fractured skull and temporary deafness that permanently affected her singing voice.[1] Johnson did not return to Broadway after this, and would later retire to Sacramento in the 1980s. During this time, Johnson got involved in the local theater scene in Sacramento. She appeared in the films My First Love (1988),[1] Sister Act (1992) and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993).[2]

Johnson was married three times during her life. Her first marriage to actor Robert Pastene ended in divorce. Her second husband, Lawrence Brown, left her after her accident in 1962. Her third marriage to professional baseball player Chet Kehn lasted from 1965 until his death in 1984.[3]

Susan Johnson-Kehn died of emphysema in 2003 in Sacramento, California, aged 75, and was survived by her daughter, Corianne Kehn, from her third marriage.[3]


  1. ^ a b c MORRIS, PATRICIA (1988-12-01). "A Long Walk Back to the Footlights : Ex-Broadway Star Is Very Much Alive, If Not Singing". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-04-06. 
  2. ^ "Susan Johnson, of Broadway's Most Happy Fella, Dead at 74 | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2018-04-06. 
  3. ^ a b Obituary,, March 10, 2003.

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