Stepin Fetchit and Chubby Johnson (right)
Charles Randolph Johnson
August 13, 1903
Terre Haute, Indiana, U.S.
|Died||October 31, 1974 (aged 71)|
Hollywood, California, U.S.
A native of Terre Haute, Indiana, Johnson was the son of entertainers. His father was a comedian in vaudeville, and his mother was a concert pianist. As a child, Johnson performed with his father in vaudeville.
Before he became an actor, Johnson was a journalist whose employers included the Las Vegas Sun. He also was a radio announcer before he entered film and television when he was past 40 years of age. 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.
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. He 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, often as a comical stagecoach driver or deputy. No supporting actor appeared on the series more often.
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.[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.[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).[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.
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.
- Abilene Town (1946) - Homesteader (uncredited)
- Rocky Mountain (1950) (with Errol Flynn) - Gil Craigie - Stage Driver
- Frenchie (1950) - Miner (uncredited)
- Night Riders of Montana (1951) - Sheriff Skeeter Davis
- The Scarf (1951) - Feed Store Manager (uncredited)
- Wells Fargo Gunmaster (1951) - Skeeter Davis
- Fort Worth (1951) (with Randolph Scott) - Sheriff
- Lost Continent (1951) - Bunker 'Suit' (uncredited)
- Fort Dodge Stampede (1951) - Skeeter Davis
- The Raging Tide (1951) (with Shelley Winters) - 'General' Ball
- Westward the Women (1951) - Jim Stacey - Awaiting Groom (uncredited)
- Here Come the Nelsons (1952) (with Ozzie and Harriet) - Tex, Man at Fair
- Bend of the River (1952) (with James Stewart) - Cap'n Mello
- The Treasure of Lost Canyon (1952) (with William Powell) - Baltimore Dan
- Apache War Smoke (1952) - Juke (uncredited)
- High Noon (1952) - Old Timer on Hotel Porch (uncredited)
- Sky Full of Moon (1952) - Powder Horn Stationmaster (uncredited)
- Last of the Comanches (1953) (with Broderick Crawford) - Henry Ruppert
- Gunsmoke (1953) (with Audie Murphy) - Doc Farrell
- Law and Order (1953) (with Ronald Reagan, Dorothy Malone, and Preston Foster) - Denver Cahoon
- Calamity Jane (1953) (with Doris Day) - Rattlesnake
- Back to God's Country (1953) (with Rock Hudson) - Shorter
- Overland Pacific (1954) (with Jock Mahoney) - Sheriff Blaney
- The Far Country (1954) (with James Stewart and Walter Brennan) - Dusty
- The Human Jungle (1954) - Greenie
- Cattle Queen of Montana (1954) (with Barbara Stanwyck and Ronald Reagan) - Nat Collins
- Rage at Dawn (1955) - Hyronemus (uncredited)
- Headline Hunters (1955) - Ned Powers
- Tennessee's Partner (1955) - Grubstake McNiven
- Tribute to a Bad Man (1956) - Baldy
- The Rawhide Years (1956) - Gif Lessing
- The Fastest Gun Alive (1956) - Frank Stringer
- The First Texan (1956) (with Joel McCrea and Felicia Farr) - Deaf Smith
- The Young Guns (1956) - Rongo Jones / Grandpa
- Drango (1957) (with Jeff Chandler and Joanne Dru) - Zeb
- The True Story of Jesse James (1957) - Arkew
- The River's Edge (1957) (with Ray Milland and Anthony Quinn) - Whiskers
- Gunfire at Indian Gap (1957) - Samuel
- The Firebrand (1962) - Tampico
- Twilight of Honor (1963) - Gannon, Jailer (uncredited)
- 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964) - Fat Cowboy
- Cyborg 2087 (1966) (with Michael Rennie) - Uncle Pete
- The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin (1967) - First Haircut Man (uncredited)
- The Wild Wild West (1967, TV Series) - Sherriff / desert rat prospector
- Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969) (with James Garner and Walter Brennan) - Brady (scenes deleted)
- Sam Whiskey (1969) (with Burt Reynolds) - Blacksmith
- Bonanza (1962-1972, TV Series) - Old Man / John Baines / Cash / Clyde / Abner Ledbetter / Sam Sneden / Sam / Toby Barker (8 episodes) (final appearance)
- "Actor Chubby Johnson Dies at 71". Oakland Tribune. California, Oakland. Associated Press. November 2, 1974. p. 31. Retrieved January 14, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- Keropian, Haig (March 8, 1970). "Chubby Johnson Maintains Reputation as Entertainer". Valley News. California, Van Nuys. p. 3. Retrieved January 14, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- 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 Newspapers.com.
- ""The Twisted Road", April 25, 1959". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
- "The Man from Blackhawk". Classic Television Archives. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- "Chubby Johnson". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved February 9, 2013.