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John Lester Johnson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Lester Johnson
Still of John Lester Johnson from Tarzan's Revenge, 1938.jpg
John Lester Johnson in the 1938 film Tarzan's Revenge
Born
John Leslie Johnson

(1893-08-13)August 13, 1893
DiedMarch 27, 1968(1968-03-27) (aged 74)
Resting placeEvergreen Cemetery, Los Angeles
OccupationBoxer, actor
Spouse(s)Lulu Dill
Boxing career
Statistics
Weight(s)
Height5 ft 11+12 in (182 cm)
Boxing record
Total fights74
Wins39
Wins by KO23
Losses29
Draws6

John Lester Johnson (born John Leslie Johnson; August 13, 1893 – March 27, 1968) was an American professional boxer and actor. He is perhaps best known for his 1916 boxing match against Jack Dempsey, and his 1933 performance as Bumbo, the titular character in the Our Gang comedy short The Kid From Borneo.

Early life and boxing career

Johnson was born in Aug. 13, 1893, in Suffolk, Virginia, one of 11 children. During World War I Johnson served in the 367th Infantry,[1] a Buffalo Soldier outfit of the United States Army.[2]

From 1912-1929, Johnson amassed a professional boxing record of 39-29-6, with 23 of his wins by knockout.[3] In 1916 Johnson fought future world heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey to a 10-round draw, during which Dempsey suffered several broken ribs.[1] Although a draw, Dempsey later said, "I thought he [Johnson] licked me. I didn't know how to fight then and Johnson did. Yes, I think he won."[4]

Johnson also had fights against the notable boxers Joe Jeanette, Harry Wills, Kid Norfolk, and Bill Tate.[5][6]

Acting career

Colorized image of John Lester Johnson as Bumbo, in The Kid From Borneo
Colorized image of John Lester Johnson as Bumbo, in The Kid From Borneo

Johnson appeared in the 1933 Our Gang comedy The Kid From Borneo as Bumbo, a circus attraction billed as a "Wild Man from Borneo." Garbed in elaborate tribal attire and repetitively saying "Yum Yum, eat 'em up!" at the sight of candy, Bumbo is mistaken by some of the Our Gang children as both a cannibal and their Uncle George, the latter earlier described by their mother as "the black sheep of the family." A frenetic chase ensues when Bumbo attempts to take the children's candy, during which he and the children demolish much of a home's furnishings.[7]

Along with two Three Stooges films,[8] Johnson's other film credits include Radio Patrol (1932), A Scream in the Night (1934), The Glory Trail (1936), Tarzan's Revenge (1938), Mr. Washington Goes to Town (1942), and Professor Creeps (1942).

Illness and Death

In a 1960 article published in Ebony, Johnson disclosed that following his acting career he worked as a special officer at Cheli Air Force Station, and that he suffered a series of disabling strokes in the late 1950s, resulting in partial paralysis.[1] Johnson lived at the Veterans Administration Hospital in West Los Angeles until his death in 1968. Johnson is interred at the Evergreen Cemetery in Los Angeles.[9]

References

  1. ^ a b c "The Man Who Broke Jack Dempsey's Ribs" (Magazine). Google Books. Google Books: Ebony. 1960. pp. 80–85. Retrieved 2020-06-04.
  2. ^ Schaap, James C. (2018-10-22). "Buffalo Soldiers in the Trenches". Siouxland Public Media. Retrieved 2020-06-03.
  3. ^ "John Lester Johnson". BoxRec. Retrieved 2020-06-03.
  4. ^ Runyon, Damon (2019-08-02). Jack Dempsey: A Tale of Two Fists. Independent. p. 250. ISBN 978-1086796131.
  5. ^ "John Lester Johnson". BoxRec. Retrieved 2020-06-03.
  6. ^ "John Lester Johnson". Cyber Boxing Zone. Retrieved 2020-06-03.
  7. ^ Maltin, Leonard; Bann, Richard (1992-11-24). The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang. New York: Three Rivers Press. p. 320. ISBN 978-0517583258.
  8. ^ "Cast Member: John Lester Johnson". The Three Stooges Online Filmography. Retrieved 2020-06-03.
  9. ^ "John Lester Johnson". Find A Grave. Retrieved 2020-06-03.
This page was last edited on 7 January 2022, at 15:45
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