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Johnson in 1961.
|Born||Archibald Winchester Johnson
March 14, 1922
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
|Died||October 9, 1997
Snow Hill, Worcester County
|Cause of death||Cancer|
|Occupation||Stage, film, and television actor|
|Spouse(s)||Yvonne Saccard (1957-1966; divorced; 2 children)
Eleanor M. Willey (1969-1971; divorced)
Joyce Johnson (?-1981; divorced; 3 children)
Jean D. Heibeck (1994-1997; his death)
Life and career
Johnson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Starting out in Philadelphia in the 1940s through 1950s he worked in Community Theater both as an actor and director. A stage actor as well as a prolific television character actor, he was in the original production of West Side Story on Broadway and the revival of that show in the 1980s, again on Broadway. He was the only actor from the original stage version who returned for the revival, and he toured Europe with the show. He was in the original version of Other People's Money on Broadway and originated the Role of "Jorge" that Gregory Peck played in the film version. His first love was theatre, where he began his career, and he returned to that genre before he retired in the late 1990s.
Johnson had a prolific television career. Among his numerous roles, he was a regular on the 1961 series The Asphalt Jungle as police Captain Gus Honochek and on the 1965-1966 series Camp Runamuck as Commander Wivenhoe. In 1963, he portrayed the role of Harry Johanson in the episode "Incident at Paradise" on CBS's Rawhide. He made five appearances on Perry Mason, including the role of murder victim Karl Magovern in the 1961 episode, "The Case of the Travelling Treasure," murder victim Gerald Thornton in the 1963 episode, "The Case of the Golden Oranges," and Marvin Fremont in the 1964 episode, "The Case of the Ice-Cold Hands." He also made four appearances on Daniel Boone and Gunsmoke, five on Bewitched, four on The F.B.I., and scores of others on many other television offerings, including The Twilight Zone, Decoy, Johnny Ringo, Hennesey, The Roaring 20s, Lawman, Going My Way, Mr. Novak, and Empire and its successor series, Redigo, both with Richard Egan.
In 1963, Johnson appeared on NBC's western series Laramie, with John Smith and Robert Fuller as Slim Sherman and Jess Harper, respectively. He was cast as the outlaw Sam Wellman in the episode "No Place to Run". In the story line, Wellman forces a likeable safecracker who is trying to go straight, Gandy Ross, portrayed by Don Durant, formerly Johnny Ringo, to open the safe in the bank at fictitious Granite City. Ellen Burstyn and Tom Skeritt play the roles of Amy and Price in the episode, as Jess Harper rescues his friend Ross from the clutches of Wellman.'
In 1961, Johnson appeared as his Gus Honochek character from The Asphalt Jungle in the theatrical film The Lawbreakers.
In 1973, Johnson played the part of Combs in the movie The Sting.
- Niagara (1953) - Taxi Driver (uncredited)
- Garden of Eden (1954)
- Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) - Heldon
- Gun Glory (1957) - Gunn
- G.I. Blues (1960) - Sgt. McGraw
- The Explosive Generation (1961) - Mr. George Sommers
- Twilight of Honor (1963) - Mac McWade
- The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970) - Stanley Bumpas
- The Cheyenne Social Club (1970) - Marshal Anderson
- Napoleon and Samantha (1972) - Chief of Police
- Walking Tall (1973) - Buel Jaggers
- Gentle Savage (1973) - Beaumont
- The Sting (1973) - Combs
- Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins (1975) - Smitty
- The Hindenburg (1975) - Captain B.F. Farley, N.Y.P.D. (uncredited)
- The Buddy Holly Story (1978) - Mr. Lawrence Holly
- Easy Money (1983) - Vendor at Armory
- Death Mask (1985) - Dr. Robert Riordan