pictured in 1940
24 November 1917|
London, England, UK
|Died||29 November 2002
Petersfield, Hampshire, England, UK
|Other names||John Justinian de Ledesma|
|Spouse(s)||Pola Nirenska (1935–1949) (divorced)
Barbara Murray (1952–1964) (divorced) 3 children
Alison McMurdo (1979–2002) (his death)
John Justin (24 November 1917 – 29 November 2002) was a British stage and film actor.
John Justinian de Ledesma was born in London, England, the son of a well-off Argentine rancher. Though he grew up on his father's ranch, he was educated at Bryanston School in Bryanston, Dorset. He developed an interest in flying and became a qualified pilot at the age of 12, though he was not allowed to fly solo at the time because of his age.
The acting bug bit him early. By the age of 16, he had joined the Plymouth Repertory. In 1937, he briefly trained with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, but did not like it and soon joined the repertory company of John Gielgud. In 1938, he auditioned for and won the role for which he is perhaps best remembered, Ahmad in the 1940 version of The Thief of Bagdad, opposite Sabu.
The Second World War broke out during the film's production. After completing the picture, Justin joined the Royal Air Force, serving as a test pilot and flying instructor. He also worked on two films, The Gentle Sex (1943) with Leslie Howard, and Journey Together (1944), an RAF feature film with a cast led by Richard Attenborough, Jack Watling and David Tomlinson; with a special appearance by the American film star, Edward G. Robinson. Legendary silent film star Bessie Love also appeared in the cast.
With the war's end, Justin returned to acting. He made more films, such as David Lean's The Sound Barrier (1952), Island in the Sun (1957) and Lisztomania (1975), but his strong preference was for the stage. He became a member of the Old Vic company in 1959. He made his Broadway debut in 1960 in the play Little Moon of Alban. In 1979, he played the ghoulish lover in the BBC's dramatisation of Le Fanu's Strange Incident in the Life of Schalcken the Painter, one of its Christmas ghost stories.
Justin was married three times, first to dancer and choreographer Pola Nirenska. His second marriage, to actress Barbara Murray, lasted from 1952 to 1964; they had three daughters. From 1970 to his death in 2002, he was married to Alison McMurdo.
- The Thief of Bagdad (1940) - Ahmad
- The Gentle Sex (1943) - Flying Officer David Sheridan
- Journey Together (1945) - Flying Instructor, Flying Grading School
- Call of the Blood (1949) - David Erskine
- The Angel with the Trumpet (1950) - Paul Alt
- The Sound Barrier (1952) - Philip Peel
- Hot Ice (1952) - Jim Henderson
- The Village (1953) - Alan Manning
- Melba (1953) - Eric Walton
- King of the Khyber Rifles (1953) - Lt. Geoffrey Heath
- Seagulls Over Sorrento (1954) - Lt. Roger Wharton
- The Teckman Mystery (1954) - Philip Chance
- The Man Who Loved Redheads (1955) - Mark St. Neots, Lord Binfield
- Untamed (1955) - Shawn Kildare
- Guilty? (1956) - Nap Rumbold
- Safari (1956) - Brian Sinden
- Island in the Sun (1957) - Denis Archer
- The Spider's Web (1960) - Henry Hailsham-Brown
- Les hommes veulent vivre (1961) - Carter
- Candidate for Murder (1962) - Robert Vaughan
- La Salamandre d'or (1962) - Vandoeuvre
- Savage Messiah (1972) - Lionel Shaw
- La redada (1973) - Comisario Mendoza
- Lisztomania (1975) - Count d'Agoult
- Valentino (1977) - Sidney Olcott
- The Big Sleep (1978) - Arthur Geiger
- Trenchcoat (1983) - Marquis De Pena