Oliver Johnston (actor)

Oliver Griffen Johnston (30 April 1888 – 22 December 1966) was an English actor. After training at RADA, his theatre work included the original production of The Barretts of Wimpole Street at Malvern (1930) and its subsequent West End transfer (1930-1932).[1][2][3] Johnston started his film career in 1938, when he was already 50 years old.[4] Working until shortly before his death, he appeared in nearly 90 film and television productions, where he often portrayed meek or mild-mannered types in supporting roles.[5]

Oliver Johnston
Publicity still, 1960
Oliver Griffen Johnston

(1888-04-30)30 April 1888
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
Died22 December 1966(1966-12-22) (aged 78)
Westminster, London, England
Years active1938–1966

Johnston had a rather unremarkable film acting career until he was nearly 70 years, when he was discovered by Charlie Chaplin.[1] He is perhaps best-remembered for his role in Chaplin's A King in New York (1957), where he played a large supporting role as the "faithful ambassador and solemn-serious straight man" to Chaplin's King.[6] Afterwards he got more acting offers, including the literature adaption Kidnapped (1960) and fantasy/horror pictures like The Three Lives of Thomasina (1963), The Tomb of Ligeia (1964) and It! (1967).[4]

One of his last roles, released after his death in December 1966 at age 78, was in Chaplin's last film A Countess from Hong Kong (1967).[7] Here Johnston portrayed an old British businessman in Hong Kong, who introduces the leading characters of Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren to each other in the opening scenes.

Filmography (selection)

Year Title Role Notes
1938Kate Plus TenCunningham
1939Stolen LifeProf. Bardesley
1953The Good BeginningOwenUncredited
1954Dangerous VoyageDr. Waverley
1954Tale of Three WomenButler(segment "Wedding Gift")
1955Room in the House
1957The HypnotistDoctor Kenyon
1957You Can't EscapeUncredited
1957A King in New YorkAmbassador Jaume
1958IndiscreetMr. FinleighUncredited
1958The Son of Robin HoodApothecary
1958Nowhere to GoMr. HopkinsUncredited
1959Beyond This PlacePrusty
1959The Night We Dropped a ClangerAir Commodore Turner
1960A Touch of LarcenyMinister
1960KidnappedMr. Campbell
1960The 3 Worlds of GulliverMr. GrinchUncredited
1961Francis of AssisiFather Livoni
1961Raising the WindProf. Parkin
1962Backfire!Bernard CurzonEdgar Wallace Mysteries
1963The Fast LadyBulmer
1963Island of LoveProf. Krumwitz
1963Dr. CrippenLord Chief Justice
1963The Three Lives of ThomasinaMr. Dobbie
1964The Tomb of LigeiaKenrick
1965You Must Be Joking!Angry Tweedles Club MemberUncredited
1967A Countess from Hong KongClark
1967It!Curator Trimingham(final film role)


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