Johnson in the trailer for Stronger Than Desire, 1939
Rita Ann Johnson
August 13, 1913
Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||October 31, 1965 52) (aged|
|Resting place||Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California|
(m. 1940; div. 1943)
(m. 1943; div. 1946)
Johnson was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the daughter of a single mother, Lillian Johnson.
Early in her career, Johnson was busy in radio. "By 1936 she ... was appearing in ten radio shows a week." She played the leading role in Joyce Jordan, M.D..
Johnson began acting on Broadway in 1935 and started her film career two years later. She played a murderer in Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) and a doomed wife in the RKO film noir They Won't Believe Me (1947).
Johnson suffered injuries (attributed to a falling hair dryer) to her head and legs September 6, 1948, requiring brain surgery, causing her film career to come to a near complete stop. A newspaper article three years afterward reported, "It took her a year to recover. Her left side was paralyzed temporarily, and for a while she couldn't walk." Her screen time in movies after that was limited due to her reduced mobility and powers of concentration. She also suffered from alcoholism from the time of her injuries until her death of a brain hemorrhage on October 31, 1965, at age 52.
- London by Night (1937) - Patricia Herrick
- My Dear Miss Aldrich (1937) - Ellen Warfield
- Man-Proof (1938) - Florence
- Letter of Introduction (1938) - Honey
- Smashing the Rackets (1938) - Letty Lane
- Rich Man, Poor Girl (1938) - Sally Harrison
- The Girl Downstairs (1938) - Rosalind Brown
- Honolulu (1939) - Cecelia Grayson
- Within the Law (1939) - Agnes
- Broadway Serenade (1939) - Judith Tyrrell
- 6,000 Enemies (1939) - Anne Barry
- Stronger Than Desire (1939) - Barbara Winter
- They All Come Out (1939) - Kitty Carson
- Nick Carter, Master Detective (1939) - Lou Farnsby
- Congo Maisie (1940) - Kay McWade
- The Golden Fleecing (1940) - Marian Edwards
- Edison, the Man (1940) - Mary Stilwell
- Forty Little Mothers (1940) - Mary Blake
- Maisie Was a Lady (1941) - Minor Role (scenes deleted)
- Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) - Julia Farnsworth
- Appointment for Love (1941) - Nancy Benson
- The Major and the Minor (1942) - Pamela Hill
- My Friend Flicka (1943) - Nell McLaughlin
- The Affairs of Susan (1945) - Mona Kent
- Thunderhead, Son of Flicka (1945) - Nelle McLaughlin
- The Naughty Nineties (1945) - Bonita Farrow
- Pardon My Past (1945) - Mary Pemberton
- The Perfect Marriage (1947) - Mabel Manning
- The Michigan Kid (1947) - Sue Dawson
- They Won't Believe Me (1947) - Greta Ballentine
- Sleep, My Love (1948) - Barby
- The Big Clock (1948) - Pauline York
- An Innocent Affair (1948) - Eve Lawrence
- Family Honeymoon (1948) - Minna Fenster
- The Second Face (1950) - Claire Elwood
- Susan Slept Here (1954) - Dr. Rawley, Harvey's Shrink
- Emergency Hospital (1956) - Head Nurse Norma Mullin
- All Mine to Give (1957) - Katie Tyler (final film role)
|1943||Lux Radio Theatre||My Friend Flicka|
|1952||Family Theater||The Crossroads of Christmas|
- Parish gives year of birth as 1912, but her grave marker says 1913.
- Parish, James Robert; Bowers, Ronald L. (1974). The MGM Stock Company: The Golden Era'. Allan. p. 379. ISBN 0-7110-0501-X.
- "Rita Johnson". BFI. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
- "Rita Johnson Near Death From Hair Drier Blow". The Post-Standard. September 11, 1948. p. 1. Retrieved June 8, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Weinstock, Matt (August 13, 2013). "The Booby-Trapped Life of Rita Johnson". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
- "What's New from Coast to Coast" (PDF). Radio and Television Mirror. 14 (1): 8–9, 80. May 1940. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
- Rita Johnson on IMDb
- "Film Star Succumbing To Mystery Injuries". The Evening News. September 10, 1948. p. 1. Retrieved June 8, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Rita Johnson Battles for Comeback Movie Roles". The Times. June 11, 1952. p. 17. Retrieved June 8, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Divorce Granted to Rita Johnson". The Milwaukee Journal. June 29, 1943. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
- "Lux Theatre Guest". Harrisburg Telegraph. Harrisburg Telegraph. June 5, 1943. p. 17. Retrieved December 23, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Kirby, Walter (December 21, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 44. Retrieved June 8, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rita Johnson.|
- Rita Johnson at the Internet Broadway Database
- Rita Johnson on IMDb
- Rita Johnson at AllMovie
- Rita Johnson at Find a Grave
- "The Booby-Trapped Life of Rita Johnson", 2013 Los Angeles Review of Books essay