Saturday, December 13, 2008

Van Johnson, 1916-2008

The death has been announced of actor Van Johnson, whose movie career saw him work with greats from Spencer Tracy and Irene Dunne, to Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball. He was 92. Johnson is pictured at left in the 1968 movie Yours, Mine, and Ours, walking down the aisle with Ball as he is about to give her (and her eight kids) away to Fonda and his ten children.

However, he didn't just do comedies; he appeared in biopics like Madame Curie with Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon; and the romantic fantasy A Guy Called Joe, in which Johnson played a pilot who is helped by an angelic Spencer Tracy to find true love with Irene Dunne. Johnson suffered a serious automobile accident during the filming of A Guy Called Joe that required a metal plate be put in his forehead, delaying production of the movie. It was this that led to his unusually small role in Madame Curie, as he was given the role essentially for the purposes of a screen test.

As far as I am aware TCM have not yet made any schedule changes to honor Johnson's passing.

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